President Trump may be the only person in Washington, D.C., who thinks he is winning the shutdown. Well, maybe the staffer who came up with the brilliant idea of taking construction money for real emergencies to pay for Trump’s phony emergency think he’s winning too.
Back on Earth, polling continues to show the shutdown is a loser with voters, and Trump is to blame. A new NPR/Ipsos polls tells us: “Three-quarters of Americans say the government shutdown, now tied for the longest in U.S. history, is 'embarrassing for the country,'including a majority of Republicans. . . . [and] about 7 in 10 in the NPR/Ipsos poll also say the government shutdown is going to hurt the country, that it will hurt the economy and that Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government now while budget talks continue.” Contrary to Trump’s strategy, “Just 3 in 10 believe the government should remain closed until there is funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Trump may think this is fake news, but every other recent public poll shows voters oppose the shutdown and hold Trump responsible. (“A Reuters/Ipsos poll out Tuesday found that 51 percent of Americans said Trump ‘deserves most of the blame,’ up 4 points from late December 2018 around when the shutdown began. A YouGov poll out this week found 50 percent also blamed Trump, also up 4 points from late December.”) Moreover, House and Senate Republicans can read the polls and know even among Republicans, 56 percent want the government reopened while talks go on and 53 percent think the shutdown will hurt the economy.
Trump’s speech had little to no effect on voters (“38 percent of Americans overall said his speech convinced them of a crisis at the border, and only about a third said his speech convinced them there is a need for a wall”).
Independents, a growing portion of the electorate, really don’t like what Trump is up to. “Fifty-three percent of independents said it’s never OK to shut down the government.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s utter disdain for the suffering of 800,000 workers and their families is out of sync with voters. (“56 percent don’t think federal workers should be working without pay . . . and 83 percent think they should get back pay for the time they do work. Two-thirds even think federal contractors should get back pay.”)
Trump has a net negative 10 point approval rating (42-52) while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has only a net negative 2 (39-41). Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has been AWOL, is at a net negative 13 points (27-40). He might want to consider doing his job, that is, voting on bills to reopen the government.
Trump convinced himself, or his addled analysts Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh convinced him, that the public was with him, the wall was popular and no one would care that the government was closed. Not a single one of those propositions is true. Wait until they find out how unpopular taking money from aid to actual victims of real emergencies is.