This should come as no surprise.
Despite delivering Republicans control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1994, Americans blamed the GOP when the government shut down in 1995 and 1996 amid the Republican Party’s efforts to impose fiscal responsibility on the profligate Clinton administration.
Despite electing 63 GOP House members in 2010 amid a backlash against the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans were blamed and faulted by the public for an Obamacare-related government shutdown.
Now a new poll confirms that, in spite of the public’s endorsement of the GOP as a check on the Obama administration in the 2014 midterms, a majority of voters will blame Republicans while far fewer will blame the president if there is another government shutdown.
In the latest CNN/ORC survey released on Monday, only 24 percent of respondents said that a new shutdown for “a few days” would cause only “minor problems” while 39 percent worried about “major problems. Another 20 percent would consider a new shutdown a “crisis.” That is a remarkable uptick from September of 2013 when 40 percent believed a government shutdown would only cause “minor” irritations and just 11 percent reportedly said they would view such an eventuality as a “crisis.”
Similarly, 39 percent said that a shutdown that lasts for longer than a “few weeks” would be a full-blown crisis. Another 38 percent anticipated “major problems,” while only 9 percent foresaw “no problems at all.”
The majority of respondents in the latest CNN poll, 50 percent, said they would blame the GOP for another government shutdown. Just one-third of survey respondents said they would cast more blame on President Barack Obama. Those figures are nearly identical to CNN’s survey of Americans the September prior to the last government shutdown.
For their part, establishment Republicans in Congress appear cognizant of the potential damage a new shutdown could do to the GOP’s favorability ratings which, according to CNN’s latest survey, have reached rough parity with those of the Democratic Party – a historically atypical condition.
“Shutting down the entire government over something never did make sense to American people, and still doesn’t and won’t in the future,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said according to a report in The New York Times.
According to that dispatch, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is committed to fighting those members of his caucus who do want to see a shutdown over the president’s order to create legal status for millions of illegal immigrants “tooth and nail.” As NBC’s First Read team noted on Monday, though, GOP leadership was equally determined to avoid a shutdown in 2013. “[A]nd remember how that turned out,” they warned.