Republican poll: Public opposed to a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare, including Republicans

posted at 5:51 pm on August 22, 2013 by Allahpundit

Interesting, if not surprising, although I’m not sure who the target audience is. The “defund ObamaCare” initiative is well into litmus-test territory by now, thanks to the number of tea-party heavy hitters in favor and the number of dreaded RINOs opposed. This new data will be dismissed as an establishment GOP effort to scare Rand Paul and Ted Cruz into backing down, even though they have zero incentive to do so. If they can’t get 41 Republican votes in the Senate, they’ll shrug it off and say they were on the side of the angels. Whatever the outcome, when it’s all over, they’ll be more popular on the right than they were before.

The real audience here isn’t really Paul and Cruz, of course, but Senate Republicans who plan to vote no and need some rhetorical ammo in defending their vote.

In a national survey of 1,000 registered voters done July 31 and August 1, the question, from pollster David Winston, said, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down the government as a way to defund the president’s health care law” and asked respondents whether they favored or opposed that plan.

Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed opposed a shutdown, while 23 percent favored a shutdown. Among Republicans, 53 percent opposed, versus 37 percent who favored…

Among Republicans who called themselves conservative, those who said they are very conservative favored shutdown by 63 percent to 27 percent, while those who said they are somewhat conservative opposed shutdown by 62 percent to 31 percent. Overall, Republicans who call themselves conservative were evenly split on the issue, 46 percent to 46 percent…

Winston also did a generic ballot test. Among people who say at this point that they plan to vote for the Republican candidate in 2014 — regardless of who it is — 51 percent said they opposed a shutdown, while 40 percent favored it. “What has to be concerning here is the fact that more than half the people who are presently voting for a Republican oppose this idea,” Winston told me. “If you’re concerned about what it might look like in terms of a general election, if half the voters who say they are going to vote for a Republican candidate oppose this, then you are creating a conflict for them to vote for a Republican candidate.”

Mirror image results between the “very conservative” and “somewhat conservative,” just as you’d expect from a litmus test. But wait — hasn’t Rand Paul said specifically that he doesn’t want a shutdown? Indeed he has — which is proof enough that even tea partiers are worried about the political fallout if it happened. The question is, is there an endgame here realistically where Obama blinks and agrees to defund before it comes to a shutdown (or at least shortly after one begins)? Realistically, no, says David Freddoso:

If you think you can get the Democratic Senate to pass (and Obama to sign) a bill that funds the government while defunding Obama’s absolute top priority without first going through a prolonged government shutdown — and we’re talking weeks or months here, not days — then you’re just not being serious. This has no chance of success unless you shut the government down for a very long time.

The guy already lost the House so that he could get Obamacare — do you really think he’s going to cry uncle one week into a few embassy closures? Obama cries uncle only when tens of thousands of government employees start having their homes foreclosed because they’re not being paid…

The defund-or-shutdown effort — and that’s what it is — represents a threat, something along the lines of: “Do what I say, or I’ll shoot myself in the leg.” I’m all for making threats, using leverage, and risking elections to get good governance, but this is not an effective tactic, because it’s in the other person’s interest to let you shoot yourself. Obama would welcome a shutdown — why should he come to the table to stop Republicans from wounding themselves for nothing?

You’ve got three possible outcomes. One: O caves relatively quickly and agrees to defund. That’s not going to happen, not only as a matter of pride in his signature legislation but as a matter of necessity. He needs the health-insurance exchanges to begin on time. Public dependency on federal subsidies is key to the law’s long-term prognosis. Agreeing to delay the whole project gives Republicans their only real chance of killing the law before it’s implemented. He’d rather have the lights go off than do that. Two: The GOP comes around to Cruz’s and Paul’s position, leaving O and Republicans deadlocked. The government shuts down and the public waits to see who’ll blink first. The media lights up with White House talking points about Republicans risking damage to the economy in order to deny health-care coverage to the middle class, yadda yadda — you know how it goes. Obama, being a lame-duck whose eye is on his legacy, has little incentive to blink. Aspiring GOP presidential candidates do. Eventually some face-saving compromise is reached to end the shutdown, possibly a delay of some O-Care provisions that aren’t related to the exchanges, but the law is funded and, if you believe the Winston poll, Republicans are probably damaged. Three: The “defund ObamaCare” effort fails to draw 41 Republican votes for a filibuster. Cruz and Paul cite it as ultimate proof of RINOism run rampant in Washington. Paul, for one, likely also mentions that certain Republican governors with their eye on 2016 actually enabled ObamaCare by accepting the law’s Medicaid expansion while he and tea partiers were busy trying to kill the damned thing. In the next round of presidential polls, he and Cruz both see their numbers rise.

In short, scenario one is a nonstarter, scenario two hurts the party while failing to accomplish its objective, and scenario three works out pretty well for everyone. Which do you think is likeliest?

Via Guy Benson, here’s the new online ad from Heritage backing the Cruz/Paul effort.

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repubs need to get the balls to play or go home

C-Low on August 23, 2013 at 12:23 PM

That first part simply isn’t going to happen.

Midas on August 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM

The rule of law still matters.

bayam on August 23, 2013 at 8:22 AM

I’ve been reading your posts for years and this is by far the funniest thing you have ever said. Look around. We ceased to be a nation of laws years ago. It’s touching that you think we occasionally still are, however. Of course, you generally advocate the rule of law only with respect to those laws that are consistent with your place on the political spectrum. Otherwise, to hell with the law; let the Imperial Presidency roll and the shredding of the Constitution continue apace.

Carry on.

totherightofthem on August 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Compare these brave American Congresscritters and the Republican Americans who oppose a government shutdown
to the founding fathers and the patriots who joined the fight for freedom AT THE RISK OF THEIR LIVES AND FORTUNE. Only about 33% of the then colonists joined up to fight the British and the rest were somewhere in between British sympathizers and cowards. Are we so desperate that we fear a government more than tyranny? Are we so committed to our precious lifestyles that we give into threats from a socialist dictator? If this is the country that I risked my life for in a s**thole like Vietnam then you can have what’s left of it!

inspectorudy on August 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM

The “Common Sense” Party!!!

What about that for a name for the opposition party to the Progressives (either Dems or Reps)?

PappyD61 on August 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Accordingly, Obamacare will be funded, GOP is wasting everyone’s time, and I will probably never ever vote for a Republican again.

Mdirmeie on August 23, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I would like to see the GOP pass legislation to force Obamacare to go into effect on Jan 1, 2014, just the way it was written in the original legislation. No delays, but with all the warts ready to be observed by all, and then let the people vote their conscience in the 2014 elections. If we the people don’t want anymore ObamaCare we will vote in a GOP Senate and grow the House representation.

Dasher on August 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Latest poll:

100% of Husbands surveyed will not beat their wives during a drunken tirade.


socalcon on August 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM

upthread RedState link:

In fact, everyone who supports defunding Obamacare has been very clear that they’ll vote for a continuing resolution, just not for Obamacare funding. If the government shuts down over that, it would be Barack Obama insisting his health care plan nobody wants gets funded.

What he said.

socalcon on August 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM

The rule of law still matters.

bayam on August 23, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Funny how you change your tune when Executive agencies start passing laws like the EPA or when we discuss the 2nd Amendment. Funny how that works.

njrob on August 23, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Give Obama The bills to fund government minus ObamaCare and at the same time include your own alternatives. Make 0Bama veto it all and hence, close the government. If he didn’t veto then the government wouldn’t be closed and people could still get their Food Stamps and Welfare checks. It’s all about perspective and the reps are losing that battle at the moment.

stuartm80127 on August 23, 2013 at 11:34 PM

BS. The establishment are cowards. How so? Let me show you.

I found this back in the day while working with Larry Hunter, former policy advisor for President Reagan. He saw the importance immediately. Senator Cornyn basically states in this memo that ObamaCare passing would help Repbulicans consolidate power.

It soon became apparent they would do nothing to stop Obama’s healthcare bill and yes, this did gain great power in 2010, but at our expense.

Here is the press release we did:

Larry Hunter and Lewis Uhler followed up with a piece in Politico. Jim Demint was attempting to remove unanimous consent, but when Dick Durban took to the floor telling the Senate he would keep them there past Christmas, everyone else backed away. Christmas over country. That is what we have as leaders.

Cowards. Plain and simple. And power hungry bastards who, once they got what they wanted in 2010, have no intent of stopping ObamaCare, or just don’t have a plan. So we get to hear about how bad it is, listen to their strong rhetoric, and watch as the spineless twits fold like cheap suits while holding up poorly worded polls to support their position so they can once again have an excuse to back out.

No more. I’m not voting for any of these idiots. If I have to, I’ll hold a party on election day to keep people away from the polls. Either the Establishment GOP comes around to acting like an opposition and stop insulting my intelligence, or I’ll wait until they are primaried out of existence and then vote.

I Like Coburn’s idea – using Levin’s Liberty Amendments, lets take this country back in a Constitutional Convention. Don’t like the idea? Then give me a better one. Waiting around for “our people” to take over hasn’t worked out to well has it? And when they get their, with few exceptions, they turn out to be not better than the half-wits who are already there.


gmerits on August 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Shutting down the government isn’t a single light-switch. Just stop funding things (anything) that we can’t afford and that is not critical. Obamacare is in that category. So is immigration reform. Aid to Egypt also. If you don’t want to be confrontational, defer the funding decisions.

People are getting so hysterical. The government “shuts down” every weekend. Big deal. Congress has long recesses – what is the problem?

Is someone saying we should stop paying benefits or put the military into moth-balls? No.

If the selective de-funding leads to furloughs and layoffs in the government, that’s business as usual. All businesses have to do that from time to time.

Better fiscal management should not be a cause for panic. It ought to build economic confidence (sadly lacking, right now)

virgo on August 24, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Shut it down.

Everytime the RINOs blink, they lose.

Shut. It. Down.

Freelancer on August 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM