If the federal government shuts down starting Tuesday because of a bitter partisan battle over the new health care law, more people say congressional Republicans rather than President Barack Obama would be responsible, according to a new national survey.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday morning, hours before funding for the government is scheduled to run out, also indicates that most Americans think Republicans in Congress are acting like spoiled children in this fiscal fight, with the public divided on whether the president is acting like a spoiled child or a responsible adult.
And six in 10 questioned in the survey say they want Congress to approve a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown, and if it happens, most people say a shutdown would be a bad thing for the country.
“Spoiled children”? Yes, that’s actually a quote from the poll itself, which is asked about both Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress. And actually, the results from the three questions where this is asked isn’t as bright-line bad for Republicans as CNN reports. Barack Obama, for instance, only barely gets an edge as a “responsible adult” over “spoiled child” by 49/47, hardly an endorsement of his leadership. Among independents, that drops to 39/53. Republicans score worst in the comparison with a 25/69, but Democrats don’t do much better at 35/58, with independents scoring them 24/67, almost identical to the GOP’s 23/69.
A better look at the temperature of the electorate comes on a question about the object of the fight itself. ObamaCare gets a 38/57 approval rating, and majorities in most demos oppose it. That’s true of both men (60%) and women (55%), and especially independents (67%). Every geographic region has a majority opposing ObamaCare on the eve of its enactment. Only 11% of the respondents oppose it for not being liberal enough, too. The more Obama refuses to negotiate over this unpopular train wreck, the more he’s going to look like a spoiled child to everyone except Democrats.
Obama gets better marks on his overture to Iran. Over three-quarters of the respondents approve of direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran if it prevents Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, 76/21. That’s a mighty big if, however.