Rasmussen: 58% support gov’t shutdown rather than current spending levels

posted at 12:16 pm on February 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

If Congressional Republicans need a little spine-stiffener in the budget battle, Rasmussen provides just the tonic.  This poll question differs from the earlier survey by The Hill on the question of a government shutdown.  Rather than focus on blame, Rasmussen instead asked about priorities in the debate over spending, and clearly the priority of the majority of likely voters isn’t continued government operations:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of Likely U.S. Voters would rather have Congress avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at the same levels as last year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) says it’s better to have a partial shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. …

The partisan differences are striking. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats prefer avoiding a shutdown by going with current spending levels. But 80% of Republicans — and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party — think a shutdown is a better option until the two sides can agree on spending cuts.

Dave Weigel says that the results come from the wording and order of the questions, with the central question coming after four questions set the table:

So before someone is asked whether he supports a shutdown, he is told that the shutdown will not affect Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits; he is not told what other services “could be” shut down. He’s told that there are three options — authorize spending at the same levels as last year, authorize less spending than last year, or authorize more spending than last year, but then he’s told that the shutdown will be avoided “by authorizing spending at the same levels as last year.” But no one is proposing* spending at the same levels as last year. The CR we’re talking about is one that Republicans in the House supported first and the Democratic Senate is grudgingly accepting. I’m not sure how useful this poll is for gauging possible support for a shutdown.

Actually, Harry Reid proposed a 30-day CR at current spending levels last week to put off the impasse another month and avoid a government shutdown:

The top Democrat in the Senate said Tuesday that he’ll bring legislation to the floor next week to keep the government running at current spending levels for 30 days to avoid a shutdown in March.

As for the rest of Dave’s criticism, the shutdown won’t stop SSA, Medicare, and unemployment checks; that spending is mandated and will continue.  It’s hard to tweak Dave for that, though, when even the President can’t get that one right.  So far no one is really sure what kinds of discretionary-funded services will have to stop, either; the military will likely stay on the job, for instance, as will intelligence operations.  So if Dave is complaining that Rasmussen prepped the question by giving out accurate information about the budget impasse, point taken, but that hardly seems like a fatal flaw in the poll.

The internals of the poll are interesting as well, but hardly surprising.  Independents, who swung hard to the GOP in the midterms, would prefer a government shutdown to continuing the same level of spending by more than a 2-1 margin, 59/36, and Republicans 80/14.  Moderates (self-described) prefer a shutdown 52/39.  A majority of Democrats want the government to remain in operation, but only by 58/36, indicating a serious divide within their party.  However, both Republicans and independents narrowly say that a shutdown would be bad for the American economy, 36/35 and 37/33 respectively.

Voters in every age and gender demographic would choose a shutdown rather than current levels of spending.  Only voters earning more than $100K a year choose to keep spending at current levels rather than risking a shutdown.   Perhaps most telling, 56% of government workers would rather see a shutdown than continued spending at current levels.

As I noted earlier, Republicans have a big advantage in this debate.  Democrats risk alienating almost every imaginable constituency except the political class (14/76) in bucking the spending cuts.

Update: Oh, look — here’s another Democrat demanding current levels of spending:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing no enthusiasm for the new proposal from Republicans to avoid a government shutdown …

Pelosi said in a statement that the GOP’s plan for a two-week spending bill cuts funding for critical programs.

“Republicans want to cut an additional $4 billion, which includes stripping support for some pressing educational challenges without redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children,” Pelosi said in a statement. “This is not a good place to start.”

In other words, Pelosi wants cuts that then turn around and get spent on something else.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Shut it down! After a month of only “essential” services the public will realize that’s all that’s need and push for a permanent “shutdown”

Rocks on February 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Shut it down – no one the general public will notice – get out ahead of the media and ask the man on the street – out here in “fly over country” – we don’t care.

jake-the-goose on February 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Rocks on February 28, 2011 at 12:18 PM

+1000

Joe Mama on February 28, 2011 at 12:20 PM

In other words, Pelosi wants cuts that then turn around and get spent on something else.

homegirl needs her a new jet or something.

ted c on February 28, 2011 at 12:21 PM

There is no magical money tree. Shut it down.

mchristian on February 28, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Dave Weigel says that the results come from the wording and order of the questions, with the central question coming after four questions set the table:

You mean polls can be manipulated? Now, Ed, you just surprised everyone in the room.

Limerick on February 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Time for the Dems to shelve their 1995-96 playbook…

mjbrooks3 on February 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Shut ‘er down.

angryed on February 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

If Congressional Republicans need a little spine-stiffener in the budget battle, Rasmussen provides just the tonic.

doesn’t it always!

sesquipedalian on February 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM

SHUT IT DOWN!

Harry Reid just wants to kick the can down the road for a month. And next month he’ll want to kick the can again.

KICK HARRY IN THE ASS NOW!

GarandFan on February 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Anybody know how much money is saved per day if we shut ‘er down?

Knucklehead on February 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM

“Republicans want to cut an additional $4 billion, which includes stripping support for some pressing educational challenges without redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Pressing educational challenges” = the need to keep brainwashing the kids to think and later vote Democrat

Del Dolemonte on February 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I work for the government, and I say. “Shut it down yesterday, for heaven’s sake.”

JSGreg3 on February 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

They say that now. Wait ’til the Libs break out the same tired lines about Republicans wanting to “starve the poor,” “keep Grandma from getting her medicine,” “not educate our children,” etc. The reason they say this stuff over and over and over is because it works quite well on the ill-informed and the squishy independents.

ncborn on February 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Shut it!

cmsinaz on February 28, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Shut it down.

People are realizing what’s at stake here, we just don’t have the money to launder through big government.

Even if the Republicans were to give in, it’s inevitable that we’re going to back to the same thing momentarily.

We’re Broke and it’s the Democrats that broke us.

Juno77 on February 28, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Time for the Dems to shelve their 1995-96 playbook…

mjbrooks3 on February 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I heard yesterday that the deficit then was $186 billion. Today, what, $1.5 trillion?

I think it’s time the Dems drop the single wing and move on to at least the T- or I-formations.

BuckeyeSam on February 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

doesn’t it always!

sesquipedalian on February 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM

At least Republicans have a spine … democrats, not so much.

darwin on February 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Pelosi’s only doing what her constituents want her to do.

WisCon on February 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

OT: Speaking of “Economics”, the inimitable Walter W. Williams is pinch-hitting for Limbaugh today.

Del Dolemonte on February 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

ncborn on February 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

That’s because the Republican Party in the past has seriously been lacking in leadership. I think we’re in a different spot now, or at least I hope so.

JSGreg3 on February 28, 2011 at 12:30 PM

So it’s OK for Wisconsin Dems to shut things down, but it’s not OK for Congressional GOP to shut things down.

Right Nancy/MSM?

angryed on February 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I’m a reservist and was told yesterday by my Commander that this was our last training weekend until congress passes budget. Hurray!

Amadeus on February 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I’ll take the shutdown please….and can someone please stuff a sock in the surgically altered and over-botox’d mouth of the irrelevant ex-speaker?

Why on earth does the woman who handed the mid-terms to her opposing party continue to remind the electorate why we voted her out?

Tim_CA on February 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM

If they did shut it down, it would be great (and impossible too) if they just didn’t tell anyone, and see how many people even notice.

RBMN on February 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM

“Republicans want to cut an additional $4 billion, which includes stripping support for some pressing educational challenges without redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children,” Pelosi said in a statement. “This is not a good place to start.”

We’ve been increasing education spending for decades and gotten nothing out of it. If this is “an investment” perhaps the NEA is the Bernie Madoff of government spending?

18-1 on February 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I heard yesterday that the deficit then was $186 billion. Today, what, $1.5 trillion?

I think it’s time the Dems drop the single wing and move on to at least the T- or I-formations.

BuckeyeSam on February 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

In 2006 I believe it was $450B. Amazing how the deficit has *tripled* since the Democrats took congress, and if you just watched the state media you wouldn’t know it…

18-1 on February 28, 2011 at 12:35 PM

They only listen to polls if it tells them to continue being squishes.

Cindy Munford on February 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

So before someone is asked whether he supports a shutdown, he is told that the shutdown will not affect Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits;

Finally! An honest poll. The dems are trying mightily to make the public believe the opposite and that probably upsets Dave.

Vince on February 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Close her down!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJG75FJkjr8

gary4205 on February 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

We can’t shut down government…no bills passed, congress and aides won’t be paid, NEA board along with other boards won’t be paid…All of the cabinets along with their boards and their huge payrolls won’t be paid…but some essentials need to continue, like, um like, uhhhh like some things like ummm, wait a minute, I will think of something….

right2bright on February 28, 2011 at 12:38 PM

60% of the public will not even notice if the govt is shut down. That is the % of people who go to work every day and pay taxes. The other 40% will notice. That is the % that sits on its ass and collects money from the govt (and in that I include federal employees)

angryed on February 28, 2011 at 12:39 PM

All government people that are classified as “non-essential” during a snow emergency should be let go permanently.

joe btfsplk on February 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Shutty.

fossten on February 28, 2011 at 12:42 PM

The Nov election showed how serious Americans are about cutting spending, so why is anyone suprised that right now, Americans are serious about cutting spending?

Hunt035 on February 28, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Anybody know how much money is saved per day if we shut ‘er down?

Knucklehead on February 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Well, discretionary spending is only about 20% of the budget.

All that SS, Medicare, Military, stuff that will keep printing checks is about 70% of total expenditures….

So a shutdown will be minor…unless they turn it ALL OFF. And start over with a blank clay tablet.

orbitalair on February 28, 2011 at 12:44 PM

At least Republicans have a spine … democrats, not so much.

darwin on February 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

For the love of America, I hope they really have grown spines.

Squiggy on February 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Close er down!

sandee on February 28, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Congressional Republicans need a little spine-stiffener. in the budget battle

FIFY

Bruno Strozek on February 28, 2011 at 12:50 PM

well seeing this poll I bet the GOp caves…..It is what they do….

unseen on February 28, 2011 at 12:50 PM

After watching Obama’s speech to the Governors just a bit ago, it doesn’t look like the Federal Government has any intentions of slowing down on spending or “becoming a partner” in local and state affairs. He just seemed to offer more of the “blank check” scenario from the Feds if everyone plays his game by his rules.

Shut it down!

Rovin on February 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I never had any doubt that people are with us on this. That’s why the Republican Party’s piddling little cuts are such a joke, because they could have gotten so much more and the poll numbers would be about the same.

FloatingRock on February 28, 2011 at 12:52 PM

The Tea Party and Republicans should compromise and meet the Democrats half way.

The deficit is $1.6T. Half would be a cut of $800B.
Sound good? $61B is wimping out, not compromise.

barnone on February 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Good news for the tea party; bad news for Pubs and socialists.

james23 on February 28, 2011 at 12:54 PM

From Shenandoah :
“Burn the (gravy) train!”

cartooner on February 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM

redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children

Even more money for the “teachers.”

We’ve seen what they are teaching. We don’t want any more of it.

SHUT IT DOWN!

pedestrian on February 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM

shut it

james23 on February 28, 2011 at 12:59 PM

At least Republicans have a spine … democrats, not so much.

darwin on February 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

For the love of America, I hope they really have grown spines.

Squiggy on February 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

My cynical perspective is that the spines the Republicans may be showing are composed of artificial vertebrae manufactured by the realization that they have one term to make a positive impression and if they don’t, sayonara suckers. Now those artificial spines can serve as a lattice around which genuine spines can grow once they see the positive benefit of having said spines. In concert with those spines, of course, they need to exhibit 20/20 vision regarding the Constitution and a keen sense of hearing so they may listen to their constituents.

SKYFOX on February 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM

well seeing this poll I bet the GOp caves…..It is what they do….

unseen on February 28, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Sadly you are right.

angryed on February 28, 2011 at 1:08 PM

The Tea Party and Republicans should compromise and meet the Democrats half way.

The deficit is $1.6T. Half would be a cut of $800B.
Sound good? $61B is wimping out, not compromise.

barnone on February 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM

In DC compromise means Dems get 90% of what they want, Reps get 2% of what they want.

angryed on February 28, 2011 at 1:21 PM

The trouble all along, for me ,is not that the Democrats are evil, crooked and scheming but that Republicans are ineffective in combatting them because they are cowardly, indecisive and stupid.

MaiDee on February 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

  So if Dave is complaining that Rasmussen prepped the question by giving out accurate information about the budget impasse, point taken, but that hardly seems like a fatal flaw in the poll.

I don’t think his argument that the phrasing of the question could skew results is an invalid one, but it has a glaring problem: if the public is NOT told of the facts and reality of the possible shutdown (I.e. that certain services will not in fact stop), then Democrats and liberals will be allowed to flat-out put forth FALSE information and demagogue things to make it seem as if, to use an old line, Republicans want to starve / kill grandma, etc. In which case, the demagoguery would skew the poll numbers.

So, better that the public be given the truth. And if that skews the results, OH WELL.

Vyce on February 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Well we can all see the ramifications of what happens when the democrats walk out, just look what a mess WI…
Schools, open
Mail, delivered
All public services, taken care of
pretty obvious what the real solution is, just send all the dems to Illinois…
Don’t shut down the government, just send the democrats out of town.
What do you want to bet the next round of sound bites is that the Wisconsin government is running more efficiently now.

right2bright on February 28, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Awesome, shut it down. Then folks can see, again, that most of what the government does is superfluous nonsense that doesn’t need to be done anyway. Shut it down long enough that private enterprise and institutions begin taking over needed activities and we might be on our way to real reform.

pugwriter on February 28, 2011 at 1:32 PM

The trouble all along, for me ,is not that the Democrats are evil, crooked and scheming but that Republicans are ineffective in combatting them because they are cowardly, indecisive and stupid.

MaiDee on February 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Thank God elections have consequences.

Roy Rogers on February 28, 2011 at 1:35 PM

There’s your permission slip, sissies. Get it done.

Mirimichi on February 28, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Shut it down. Now.

Midas on February 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I wonder if the stats on government employee poll would change if they were told there would be no payment later for the time the government was shut down. In the past, those employees were paid whether or not they were essential employees. A lot of them might be rooting for the shut down for some paid time off.

Oleta on February 28, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Shut down the Democrat kickback machine!

Shambhala on February 28, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Turn out the lights, the party’s over.

faraway on February 28, 2011 at 2:06 PM

In other words, Pelosi wants cuts that then turn around and get spent on something else.

She’s the harlot she always was, in the literal and political senses.

Schadenfreude on February 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

*GASP* But how will Obama’s staff pay their personal trainer?

bitsy on February 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

So if Dave is complaining that Rasmussen prepped the question by giving out accurate information about the budget impasse, point taken, but that hardly seems like a fatal flaw in the poll.

The editors at Reason must have really gotten a good delivery of ganja in when they decided Weigel was just another fellow libertarian. And he’s going to live off that label for the next 20 years, just like Andy Sullivan arrives at The Daily Beast to provide more “conservative” commentary…

jon1979 on February 28, 2011 at 3:31 PM

That looks like a consensus to me shut er down.

Dr Evil on February 28, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Shut ‘er down.
None of us manage our household budgets like this. We’re buying and eating filet mignon and lobster on a hamburger budget.

OmahaConservative on February 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) was just on Cavuto and he said his constituents want him to shut ‘er down.

OmahaConservative on February 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Our Rep is comiing to speak to us on Thurs. Overwhelming shout from the audience: Shut it down!

BetseyRoss on February 28, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Construction collapsed in my area of Florida in 2007. Lived off credit cards and savings for 18 months looking for any work (well, not McDonalds). Took my $669 SS check at 62 in 2008…it couldn’t cover the new bills or the old bills, so I decided to downsize. Real estate market had started collapsing, but sold land and home (‘By Owner’ at a loss, but I owned them) in high tax area, and moved to a low tax area (paid $170+ property tax for last year). 2 half-acre lots with 320 sq feet living space (basically an efficiency apartment with a dirt floor carport attached) near a Suwannee River boat ramp…all paid for, truck paid off as well as all credit cards. Have managed to save about $250-300 a month out of the $669 SS check. Now Medicare is knocking at the door as I approach 65, and that will cost $115.40 a month for “Plan B” (“Plan A” seems to be free. “Plan D” will add to cost, but am not sure how much yet). Dixie County has access to some doctors who “Accepts Medicare-approved amount” at local clinics, but costs always get added. I’ll give it a try for what will remain of my first year…you get penalized for not taking “Plan B” in your first year, i.e. penalized in added cost if you want it in the second year.

(Maybe I should break out my old harpoon, and start poaching Manatee again, for some extra income…if the freezes haven’t wiped out the ones in my area.)

Karmi on February 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM