CBS, WaPo/ABC show some damage from shutdown across the board

posted at 9:21 am on October 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Whether it’s just the natural inclination to backfill on a three-week story line that ended up going nowhere or a way to talk about something other than the ObamaCare debacle all day long, the media has continued to look for evidence that the government shutdown served as a self-immolation for the Republican Party.  Two new polls show that Republicans took some damage, but so did Barack Obama and Democrats, and the damage was not as significant as people assumed. First let’s look at the Washington Post/ABC survey, where Republicans fared worst:

It’s long been noted that Americans disapprove of Congress as an institution far more than they disapprove of their own representative. That’s still the case – but less so. Just 43 percent in this survey approve even of their own Congress member, while 47 percent disapprove – record low approval and the first underwater result to this question in ABC/Post polls back 24 years.

Another result may deepen the chill for current office-holders: Only 25 percent of registered voters now say they’re inclined to re-elect their representative in Congress; 66 percent are inclined to look around for someone else – the highest level of anti-incumbency in ABC/Post polls since 1989.

The Republicans may be at particular risk; just 32 percent of Americans express a favorable view of the party, vs. 63 percent unfavorable – their worst rating, as noted, in at least 29 years. The Democrats, by contrast, manage about an even split in this basic measure of popularity.

That said, anti-incumbency is not taking a strong partisan direction. Registered voters split 48-40 percent between the Democrat and the Republican in their House district, unchanged from May and a fairly typical result. It was much better for the Democrats leading into the 2006 midterms and much better for the Republicans leading into 2010.

In a poll series, especially to test the impact of a big event, one has to look past the latest numbers and see how they look in the context of time.  The 12/85 of this shutdown looks very similar to the 16/80 after the March showdown, and the 13/84 in January 2012.  In July, Congressional approval rebounded — if you can call it that — to 21/73.  In truth, Congressional approval in this poll series has been below 40% since June 2007, shortly after Democrats took over in the 2006 midterms, and below 30% since mid-2008 — and Democrats still kept control and won the White House later that year.  Congressional approval, therefore, isn’t a very telling indicator.

Unfortunately for us, the partisan approvals don’t have that kind of history in this series, but WaPo/ABC did ask that question just before the shutdown on September 29th.  Congressional Republican approval ratings went from 26/63 to 21/77; Congressional Democratic approval went from 34/56 to 36/61. In both cases, disapproval ratings rose a little more significantly than approval ratings fell, and while Republicans did a little worse in the exchange, the numbers haven’t exactly fallen out from under either. (On the parties as a whole, Republicans did do worse a little more significantly, falling from 39/53 to 32/63; Democrats went from 49/42 to 46/49.)

At CBS, we see the same kind of incremental erosion:

While 31 percent of Americans approve of the way Democrats in Congress are doing their job, just 18 percent approve of how Republicans are doing theirs. Disapproval of Republicans in Congress has risen five percentage points since before the shutdown, to 78 percent. Democrats’ “negatives” climbed three points, to 65 percent.

The recent budget negotiations have made 64 percent of Americans pessimistic about Congress’ ability to deal with future issues affecting the country; only 11 percent are optimistic.

Tea party adherents were front-and-center during the shutdown, and views of the movement have become more negative. Just 14 percent of Americans now hold a favorable view of the tea party, down from 18 percent as the government shutdown began, and unfavorable views are up 7 points. Half of Americans still hold no view of the tea party or aren’t familiar with it, even after the high-profile political battles.

Basically, this means that the shutdown probably didn’t do anyone lasting damage, and it certainly didn’t present anyone with a lasting advantage. Had the shutdown continued longer or produced a technical default, that might have produced a more significant result, but it didn’t.  It seems very doubtful that these just-outside-the-MOE changes will reverberate a year from now, especially when the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are entering a credibility death spiral on ObamaCare that will last the entire year — and for several years after that, too.


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The story that these polls don’t tell is how dissatisfied conservatives are with Republican performance. With the current party rift many of those who typically vote Republican, and will vote Republican again, are skewing the overall dissatisfaction rating for Republicans. There is no gain here in support for Democrats, only potential loss for Republicans if the party truly fractures. And count me as casting a vote of disapproval for the Republican Party.

NotCoach on October 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

CBS, WaPo/ABC show some damage from shutdown across the board

Interesting. The Libtard media will be using the sequester and the shutdown for years to come for reasons for the continuing economic collapse.

Of course, Obamacare will be the one bright shining beacon of hope.

Makes me sick.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 22, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Let me guess, the poll sampling was D+9?

parke on October 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Democrats shut down the government to preserve the Obamacare disaster as-is. They were not even willing to discuss changes, including delaying the individual mandate, because a political “win” in Death Throe Theater was more important than preventing the fine you will be paying.

forest on October 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

CBS, WaPo/ABC show some poll findings that Republicans are bad and they hurt baby. Please, F troops on!

onomo on October 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM

The real damage is now O’care gets to sit front and center, all by itself. What a wonderful spectacle seeing Obama’s signature legislation exposed as the fraud every conservative has known about since 2009. It really has been a glorious 3 weeks watching the media finally having to opine that indeed we do have a serial liar in the WH.

hillsoftx on October 22, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Let me guess, the poll sampling was D+9?

parke on October 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

You also have to add the media-assisted narrative that only Republicans were responsible for the shutdown—wall to wall coverage for three weeks.

Rovin on October 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Want Obamacare? Vote Dem.

Want to repeal Obamacare? Vote GOP.

BuckeyeSam on October 22, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Out of a job?

Don’t worry stooges, Bark’s got your back. At least now with ObunglerCare, you can get those much needed breast implants along with the gummit cheese.

Thomas More on October 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

hmmm let’s see…

CBS – hugely biased towards liberal ideology throughout its broadcast spectrum
ABC – probably same as CBS x 2. All gay all day too.
WaPo – oh geez

Like moderators in a presidential debate. Why bother with polls from our media?

DanMan on October 22, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Like moderators in a presidential debate. Why bother with polls from our media?
DanMan on October 22, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Because they accurately predict election results?

libfreeordie on October 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Because they accurately predict election results?

libfreeordie on October 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Presidential elections. But not mid-terms.

oldroy on October 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Presidential elections. But not mid-terms.

oldroy on October 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Really, I should say Presidential elections with real stinkers of Republican candidates.

oldroy on October 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM

The impact where I work was virtually non-existent. We still received orders from customers, we made it, and we shipped it.

Meanwhile, at the Pisgah Inn, a few miles away, park rangers were behaving like fascists and kept private business from functioning normally there.

Obama didn’t score any extra points in this area – despite Asheville’s liberal-leaning demographic.

Turtle317 on October 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Basically, this means that the shutdown probably didn’t do anyone lasting damage, and it certainly didn’t present anyone with a lasting advantage.

Interesting. The shutdown that all the Democrats went ballistic over is having no lasting damage. The rest of the home page filled with links to stories about Obamacare and job reports that Democrats don’t want to talk about reflective of the chronic, debilitating malignancy that is the Obama administration making its best attampt to damage the future for all of us.

DaveDief on October 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM

…but WaPo/ABC did ask that question just before the shutdown on September 29th.

Man that’s a tell.

Valerie Jarret: “Hey, somebody do a poll before we shut this sucker down”
Jee Bezos: “yes’m”

DanMan on October 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Because they accurately predict election results?

libfreeordie on October 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Before I answer that how about you finally respond to following.

Here’s a simple question for you. Which of the founding fathers did not subscribe to the communitarian ethos Calhoun deploys to rationalize slavery? *sets sundial*

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:30 AM

None. They weren’t nascent Commies like John C. Calhoun, and full blown Commies like you. Don’t you think you need to provide some proof for such a ridiculous smear there Mr. Calhoun? You’re a history perfesser, right?

NotCoach on August 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Oh dear God….hold on, give me 10 minutes.

libfreeordie on August 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

We’ve only been waiting for almost 1,500 hours (9,000 10 minute increments) after all.

NotCoach on October 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

This nation really needs the ability to clean house at a full national level.
I would recommend adding a total recall election prior to the beginning of the election cycle. In order for anyone currently in congress to run for re-election in the upcoming election cycle, the people have to give an affirmative 50%+1 vote of confidence. A vote of no confidence would end the current session of congress and bar any representative or senator from running in an election or serving in congress through appointment for 6 years. Each congressional House, the house of representatives and the Senate would each have their own vote of confidence.

Ideally we would get rid of the 17th amendment and just allow state legislatures pick senators. Leaving only the house eligible for the incumbency reduction vote.

astonerii on October 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Let me guess, the poll sampling was D+9?

parke on October 22, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Doesn’t have to be d+9. Republicans are more honest with their answers and conservatives in the party aren’t willing to be led like sheep. So you will get more negativity towards R incumbents.

Vince on October 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Ideally we would get rid of the 17th amendment and just allow state legislatures pick senators. Leaving only the house eligible for the incumbency reduction vote.

astonerii on October 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Agreed, ten-fold.

Carnac on October 22, 2013 at 10:42 AM

just one more example where conservatives where 100% right and the moderate GOPe cowards and their defenders were 100% wrong. We were told over and over that a gov shutdown would be so bad the GOP would lose power for generations. Yet like in 1996 the reality is the vast majority of people didn’t even notice the gov was shutdown.

I understand the need for the big government people to want to keep the fantasy alive that people need a big federal government but the reality is that people by and large can get by on their day after day without some big government telling them how to live.

unseen on October 22, 2013 at 10:43 AM

CBS, WaPo/ABC show some damage from shutdown across the board

Republican pundits continue to refer to a 17% partial shutdown – which was in fact an attempted intervention – as a shutdown. And wonder why they are losing the public relations battle. It’s not just Republican politicians who suck at messaging. The pundits are every bit as bad.

Basilsbest on October 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM

C’mon. The only “damage” ( if a 12 day paid furlough can be called damage) was to a politically powerful special interest group – government workers, most of whom are redundant.

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 10:47 AM

And overpaid.

Cleombrotus on October 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Those left wing rags are hard at work fulfilling the charters as Obama’s propaganda machines.

rplat on October 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM

The devastation was so severe it took 3 weeks to find some.

BobMbx on October 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM

But but but…that fake NBC poll that got everyone’s panties in a twist said the party was doomed…DOOMED I tells ya.

xblade on October 22, 2013 at 3:21 PM