And maybe even more than this Politico/Morning Consult poll would indicate. Voters overwhelmingly disapproved of the first shutdown and take an even dimmer view of a repeat, in a survey taken before the breakthrough in negotiations late Monday night. If another shutdown took place, Trump would get most of the blame, but Politico notes that the number’s ticking upward for Democrats too:
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll suggests Trump and Republicans would shoulder more blame for another shutdown than Democrats. A combined 52 percent of voters would blame Trump or Republicans in Congress if the government shuts down again, according to the poll — greater than the 37 percent who would blame congressional Democrats.
Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president, said that’s closer than in polls before the shutdown that began late last year and stretched into January.
“Although voters would hold President Trump responsible for a second shutdown, there’s an uptick in voters who would blame congressional Democrats,” Sinclair said. “Notably, 37 percent of voters would blame congressional Democrats for a government shutdown, compared to 31 percent who said the same before the first shutdown.”
The new budget agreement — or preliminary agreement, anyway — might make this a moot point. Right now the onus is on Donald Trump to sign it if the bill sticks to the agreement announced, which includes money for barriers on the border and no cap on detention beds. If it does and Trump still refuses to sign it, then he’ll clearly carry the blame for the next shutdown too.
However, that wasn’t in play when Morning Consult posed these questions. Here is the question order from their data, and see if the problem isn’t obvious:
POL19 As you may know, President Trump is considering shutting the government down again if Democrats and Republicans in Congress cannot come to an agreement to provide funding for his proposed U.S. – Mexico border wall. Based on what you know now, would you support or oppose President Trump shutting down the government again?
POL20 If the federal government were to shut down again after February 15th, who would you say would be mostly to blame?
The first question all but dictates the premise for the second. Trump is considering shutting down the government, so if it does shut down, who do you blame? It’s surprising that only 49% blamed Trump with that set-up. It’s even more surprising that 37% saw past that framing to pin the blame on the no-negotiations Democrats.
Those aren’t the only surprises in the poll. Support for a border wall edges out opposition 47/46, a virtual tie within the margin of error. A third of all respondents see building a border wall as a “top priority” for Congress, with another 13% considering it an “important” priority. Only 36% of respondents say it shouldn’t be built at all. That not only makes support for a border wall a mainstream position, it makes outright opposition something of a fringe position.
With that in mind, it’s easier to see why Democrats might have shouldered the blame for a second shutdown for having refused to bargain for any barriers at all. It also may explain this:
The survey also shows an uptick in Trump’s approval rating, which is at 45 percent, compared with 41 percent a week ago. A narrow majority of voters, 51 percent, disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president.
With that in mind, perhaps Chuck Schumer is begging more than he admits when he says, “Sign this bill!”
Sen. Chuck Schumer says agreement reached by lawmakers "is the last train leaving the station away from another dreaded government shutdown."
— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2019