Rasmussen: 57% prefer gov’t shutdown to current levels of spending

posted at 2:10 pm on April 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier in the week, Howard Dean told an audience that Democrats should be rooting for a government shutdown rather than agree to budget cuts, because voter anger would punish Republicans.  That may have been true in 1995, but as Rasmussen discovered it its latest polling, the political and fiscal environment in 2011 is far different.  A strong majority of respondents prefer a shutdown if Congress refuses to cut spending deeply enough:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think making deeper spending cuts in the federal budget for 2011 is more important than avoiding a partial government shutdown. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree and say avoiding a shutdown is more important. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Here is the exact wording of the question: “What is more important: avoiding a partial government shutdown or making deeper cuts in government spending?”  The wording actually assumes that cuts in government spending have already been secured, which means that the response keys off of whether those cuts went far enough.  Only 31% agree with Chuck Schumer (ow whoever writes his flashcards) that seeking further cuts is an “extreme” position.

Nor does the news get any better from there for Democrats.  When asked whether it would be better to avoid a government shutdown by compromising at the level of cuts proposed by Democrats, only 36% agreed.  The same majority of 57% said it would be better to proceed with the partial government shutdown rather than settle for the smaller figure.

The internals won’t comfort Democrats, either.  On the last question, only 69% of their own party supports their cuts, while a little more than a quarter would prefer a shutdown (27%).  Republicans and independents are almost identical in their rejection of Democratic proposals on budget cuts (15/74 and 24/70, respectively).  The shutdown option has a majority in every age demographic, even 18-29YOs at 34/50.  It also wins every income demographic, including the under-$20K group (38/50), and gets more than 2-1 support from those making $40-60K (25/64). None of these are even particularly close, so even if one is inclined to treat Rasmussen a little skeptically, the pattern is still clear.

Dean thinks that holding out for no cuts at all except those already in the CRs will win a class-warfare battle.  If he convinces his party of that strategy, they can kiss the 2012 elections good-bye.


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This shows you that 2/3 rds of Americans are paying attention. That is a good sign.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:12 PM

megan kelly is going to talk about the “tea party” diabolical plot to shut down the government just after the commercial breaks. Tune in.

Looks like the Dems strategy is to alinsky the tea party.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

I’m sure the LSM will emphasize that it’s a “partial” shut down and that essential services continue.

/s

aquaviva on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

When we’re inundated with media sob stories of govt-shutdown victims, I hope the stat holds up.

itsnotaboutme on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

That’s encouraging. Let’s hope the GOP gets the message. I still think maybe the compromise of 30-something billion right now might be the best recourse since they’re not gonna get much more than that for 2011. The 2012 budget is where the real battle is and if they’re gonna risk a government shutdown, why not do it then?

Doughboy on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Americans are uninformed on where the money goes and will turn against those who’ll shut down.

It’s a nation of moochers any more, sadly.

Also, count on the media to eat what they dwell in, Obama’s caca.

Also, count on the unemployment number to be whatever Obama wants it in 2012, reality be damn*d.

Schadenfreude on April 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Shut ‘er down…!

Seven Percent Solution on April 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

The Dems may have sent out invitations to the Shutdown Pity Party too soon.

cartooner on April 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Looks like the Dems strategy is to alinsky the tea party.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

[gasp] Oh, no! I hope they don’t portray us as racists or hatemongers or political assassins or extremists. Oh wait….

Doughboy on April 1, 2011 at 2:15 PM

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

We have to hear it with Alan Colmbs commentary––I really don’t want to get sick on Friday!

cartooner on April 1, 2011 at 2:19 PM

If he convinces his party of that strategy, they can kiss the 2012 elections good-bye.

Ah, now that is a good thing. A very good thing.

The Rock on April 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Somewhat off topic, in the event of a shutdown, do the armed forces still receive pay? I was of the belief that they do, but my wife says that they won’t. This is according to a contact that she has at the VA.

c.u.shoeless on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

This shows you that 2/3 rds of Americans are paying attention. That is a good sign.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Just like all the other polls showing Americans want spending cut. Oh wait, that’s when its a generic term, ask them what departments and programs they want cut and then you find out next to none. Indeed they want spending increased on several. The American people are as unserious as ever.

jarodea on April 1, 2011 at 2:27 PM

c.u.shoeless on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Military gets paid. Only “non-essential” gets shut down, which is a bonus if it happens. People might see how much unessential stuff the government does – even by the government’s own estimation of what is “non-essential”.

forest on April 1, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Somewhat off topic, in the event of a shutdown, do the armed forces still receive pay? I was of the belief that they do, but my wife says that they won’t. This is according to a contact that she has at the VA.

c.u.shoeless on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I’m no expert but I have read in seceral places that all a shutdown does is stop about 1/4 of federal spending. Mandatory spending (the other 75%) still goes out. That includes pay and benefits for reitrees, the poor, disabled, veterans, soldiers, etc.

jarodea on April 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Now let’s go for entitlement reform.

When SS was introduced the average life span was 64.5 years, so you could retire six months after you were dead.

We should tie the SS retirement age to life span, say make it three years less (that would make the target retirement age 76).

Sudden changes send shock waves through any system so we have to transition into this.

We adjust the retirement age by a maximum of six months each year. I am 54. I would retire at age 76. This would give people the chance to adapt to the new realities and effectively end the financial destruction of this ponzi scheme.

I actually prefer to set the target retirement age to 115, so you could start collecting SS retirement benefits at 112.

Conservatives can boil frogs too.

The Rock on April 1, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I wish I was as confident as Ed. The last time, I thought the shut down would at least be competitive in the public mind. It wasn’t close. In spite of what the poll says, a lot of people still hear and read the MSM where they learn what to think. Wait until the MSM blitz arrives.

burt on April 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Somewhat off topic, in the event of a shutdown, do the armed forces still receive pay? I was of the belief that they do, but my wife says that they won’t. This is according to a contact that she has at the VA.

c.u.shoeless on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

We’ve been told they aren’t guaranteeing we will get paid.

cfooteman on April 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM

But wait, I thought the polls said the public did NOT want cuts. I know I read that somewhere. Seems like the polls will take you here, there and everywhere…GULP

/SARC…heavy variety

Maybe we should try leadership for a change *sound of rinos running back in their holes*

winston on April 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM

There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.
Calvin Coolidge

Letting the Democrats control the game of chicken they’ve initiated is a terrible mistake.
Take the steering wheel, aim at them. hold the pedal down and never blink. If you do lift the pedal, if you do blink, if you do turn the wheel, you’re still going to crash, only without victory.

Speakup on April 1, 2011 at 2:45 PM

This shows you that 2/3 rds of Americans are paying attention. That is a good sign.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 2:12 PM

It is difficult to not pay attention when your head is being pushed under water.

Slowburn on April 1, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Thank you. The longer the better. I want it to get to the point that places like the EPA and FDA have to stop their payrolls and shut their doors. It makes it a lot easier to shut them permanently.

Vashta.Nerada on April 1, 2011 at 2:46 PM

another reason for the beltway gop idiots to worry:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised a combined total of $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, outgaining presumed presidential contender Mitt Romney who raised $1.9 million over the same period.

Bachmann’s political action committee, MichelePAC, raised $1.7 million while her Congressional reelection fund took in $500,000. The funds raised for her Congressional reelection could be transferred to any federal campaign, including one for president.

unseen on April 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM

We should tie the SS retirement age to life span, say make it three years less (that would make the target retirement age 76).

Sudden changes send shock waves through any system so we have to transition into this.

The Rock on April 1, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I have a better idea. Those that are within 15 years of retirement can receive SS, those that are farther away are out. Drop the FICA tax and put SS payments in the budget with the welfare and medicaid payments so congress can’t lie about the deficit.

Vashta.Nerada on April 1, 2011 at 2:51 PM

unseen on April 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Yay, lolCat approve, everywon can haz ther owns O’Donnell.
/lolCat.

Sorry about that, lolCat is liberal to his core so like most of the country he doesn’t want to vote for Bachmann either.

jarodea on April 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM

And tomorrow another poll will say the exact opposite followed by a poll on Monday that says the opposite of that poll.

Seems like every day a contradicting poll comes out on this topic. People want cuts. They don’t. They do. They don’t.

Problem is most people have NO IDEA what is happening. Ask the same people the same question 3 days in a row and you will get 3 different answers.

angryed on April 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM

another reason for the beltway gop idiots to worry:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised a combined total of $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, outgaining presumed presidential contender Mitt Romney who raised $1.9 million over the same period.

Bachmann’s political action committee, MichelePAC, raised $1.7 million while her Congressional reelection fund took in $500,000. The funds raised for her Congressional reelection could be transferred to any federal campaign, including one for president.

unseen on April 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Romney’s already DOA, as the big fundraisers have been shying away from him.

How is she doing compared to the GOP establishment’s other favored sons like Pawlenty, Barbour, and Daniels?

teke184 on April 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I’m sure the LSM will emphasize that it’s a “partial” shut down and that essential services continue.

/s

aquaviva on April 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Perversely, it’s little Bammie that gets to decide what is an ‘essential service’, so if he wants to make a shutdown painful he can. If you are a prog that believes a crisis is something to be taken advantage of, why not nudge it along?

slickwillie2001 on April 1, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Shut down the government – the non-essentials get shutdown.

Do this for months, not days or hours.

The exit strategy is to only fund what is necessary and let the rest go. Stop the spending. Make it a ‘spend as you go’ government so that it only gets to spend what it takes in every month. Once the money dries up for the non-essentials then it is just wait it out for the storm that comes… and will pass over once it is made clear that they aren’t going to get funded. Make 2012 a referendum on essential government only, and reform of the essentials to their core.

By then gas will be very expensive, we will be under 55% employed and the economy will appear to be in a permanent tank… but there will be no more printing of money for our deficit spending… and then it will be apparent that the basics of government does not include being our brother’s keeper and providing for his retirement and health care via government. We can do that cheaper and easier ourselves if the government gets rid of the idea it can ‘help’ anyone by mandating retirement and taking of benefits. It is an asinine system: if you want to retire provide for yourself and don’t expect any help from anyone else in doing it. You may wind up in a charity ward if you are a spendthrift, but we are all going broke to cover for all the spendthrifts. We can provide for those dependent upon the system, but my bet is if you take the retirement cap off, a number of seniors will come back to the workforce looking for something better than golf and gardening.

ajacksonian on April 1, 2011 at 3:16 PM

I’m good with a shutdown if that is what it takes to get serious about spending reductions. No more procrastinating, period. Let’s roll, already!

itzWicks on April 1, 2011 at 3:16 PM

SHUT IT DOWN!

GarandFan on April 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Shut it down, fund essential functions only, do not rathedebt ceiling. Once there is enough money savd to fund the rest without deficit- go for it.

anikol on April 1, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Romney’s already DOA, as the big fundraisers have been shying away from him.

How is she doing compared to the GOP establishment’s other favored sons like Pawlenty, Barbour, and Daniels?

teke184 on April 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Mitt and MB were the two biggest for the quarter tha thave reported so far.

unseen on April 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Taxpayers decide who they want to employ and for how long, not the other way around.

anikol on April 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM

The Washington Republicans are too spineless to do it. They can’t stand the idea of the New York Times talking bad about them.

Snake307 on April 1, 2011 at 3:33 PM

teke184 on April 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I know you better than anyone else here, so I cannot possibly imagine you really think she is even remotely viable as a candidate.

Vyce on April 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I wish I was as confident as Ed. The last time, I thought the shut down would at least be competitive in the public mind. It wasn’t close. In spite of what the poll says, a lot of people still hear and read the MSM where they learn what to think. Wait until the MSM blitz arrives.

burt on April 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Back in the 90′s, the deficit was not a pervasive concern in the general public. Mostly people thought Gingrich had lost his mind and Clinton won the PR war. Obama is not that skilled and the huge spending now is on the radar. This is a different time. Back then, the deficit was a tiny % of the overall budget, today, at 40+%, people are more aware.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Shut er down. Cut off funding to everything.

mechkiller_k on April 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Just like all the other polls showing Americans want spending cut. Oh wait, that’s when its a generic term, ask them what departments and programs they want cut and then you find out next to none. Indeed they want spending increased on several. The American people are as unserious as ever.

jarodea on April 1, 2011 at 2:27 PM

The other argument goes like this: “Yeah, shut that down! Quit paying that for them! Oh, no…you can’t quit paying me that! I’ve been paying X years into that, you owe it to me!!! I’m a TAXPAYER, dammit!”

As the pie gets ever smaller and “stimulus” money and other government expenditures evaporate into foreign coffers, Swiss bank accounts, Dem campaign war chests, inflation and ridiculous amounts of debt, we’re all going down sooner or later…unless maybe you live in 10′X 10′ solar-powered cabin in the woods.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Somewhat off topic, in the event of a shutdown, do the armed forces still receive pay? I was of the belief that they do, but my wife says that they won’t. This is according to a contact that she has at the VA.

c.u.shoeless on April 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

We’ve been told they aren’t guaranteeing we will get paid.

cfooteman on April 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM

There is a bill being sponsered by Jack Kingston of Georgia to ensure that military members get paid. The danger here is that the defense budget has yet to be passed, so unlike last time (1995), there appears to be a danger of our checks getting stopped.

We’re being thrifty this pay check, just in case it’s our last for a while. My husband hasn’t heard anything reassuring from his command one way or the other – but the scuttlebutt about it is flying everywhere.

Anna on April 1, 2011 at 4:01 PM

The Republican leadership is asking its Members to make a silly vote. And it’s time for us to stop that silliness and get serious about the creation of jobs, get serious about not shutting down government, abdicating our responsibilities and shutting down government. — Nancy Pelosi (D-EXTREME former House Speaker whose EPIC FAILURE to pass a budget and appropriations bills for FY2011 put us here)

J_Crater on April 1, 2011 at 4:16 PM

There must not be a government shut down. Michael Medved assures us that it will destroy the Republican party if the Democrat party causes a government shut down. You know, because of 1994, we lost all control of congress and never won again.

xblade on April 1, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Back in 1994, no one gave a sh!t about the budget or the deficit. Also, Clinton was way more popular than Obummer. And Clinton made his case to the public very well.

This time is so different.

karenhasfreedom on April 1, 2011 at 4:47 PM

They’ve already kissed 2012 goodbye with their America Last policy.

Done That on April 1, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Well, there goes the Republican Establishment’s last figleaf. What new critical need for government spending will they now discover?

PersonFromPorlock on April 1, 2011 at 8:17 PM