The latest polls show the degree to which Obamacare has become a burden around the necks of Democrats. CNN’s latest poll reports: “In January 51% said they favored all or most of the provisions in the new law. Now that figure is down to 39%. Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups — women and Americans who make less than $50,000.”
About the only way the GOP could blow their advantage on this issue and the 2014 election (where Obamacare is likely to be one of the top issues) is to do something really dumb that would convince Americans they aren’t fit to govern, right? Well, CNN has news for them:
According to the poll, if a government shutdown lasted only a few days, 11% of Americans think that would cause a crisis and another 38% forecast major problems. But if a shutdown lasted a few weeks, the number who think the country would face a crisis rises from 11% to 31%, and the number who believe major problems would result increases a bit to 43%. . . .
So whom would Americans blame if the government shutdown?
“Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP – up from 40% who felt that way earlier this year,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. . . .
Seventeen percent of those polled say failure to extend the debt ceiling would cause a crisis, with another 45% forecasting major problems for the country. The poll indicates a quarter would blame the president if the debt ceiling were not raised, with 54% holding congressional Republicans responsible.
It is noteworthy that Heritage, home base for the suicidal shutdown squad, quotes the portion of the poll showing a drop in approval for Obamacare but not the thumbs down on their chosen shutdown strategy. If you’re selectively quoting a poll to encourage a huge political gamble, there might be something awry here. (It is especially nervy to quote a congressman from the CNN report urging a confrontation without the warning from the same CNN report that the public would blame the GOP.)
But for the hard right, polls and facts matter very little. The shutdown squad is gaga over candidates trying to oust sober Republicans opposed to giving the president a club with which to beat the GOP. For them, truth is irrelevant. My colleague Glenn Kessler catches right-wing challenger Matt Bevin making up stuff about Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), specifically doing “nothing” to defund Obamacare. Bevin gets the four Pinocchio treatment:
Bevin’s statement comes in the context of a nascent effort to “defund” the law before it goes into effect. The effort is being pushed by a group of Senate conservatives, who vow to block a new spending bill for the government unless all funding is halted for the health care law.
This is a quixotic effort. Most of the law is funded through mandatory spending, while the spending bill concerns discretionary spending, though the lawmakers insist they can get around this hurdle. Even so, Democrats control the Senate—and Obama holds the veto pen. Most establishment Republicans believe such a showdown will simply play into Obama’s hands, because the GOP will get blamed for a government shutdown. . . . McConnell, as Obama would attest, has been a consistent thorn in the side of the administration on the health-care law. For instance, McConnell helped ensure that not a single Republican—including even moderates who were sympathetic to Obama’s aims–voted for the final version of the law.
When right-wingers can’t even be honest with themselves, that is a problem. For Republicans trying to wrest the Senate majority from Democrats and keep the public on their side in the health-care debate, this is a serious problem.