HUFFPOLLSTER: Reviewing The Polling On A Government Shutdown

Pollsters are all over the potential government shutdown. Polls show "the American people" have plenty of confusion and doubt about Obamacare but are in no mood to defund it. And everyone hates Congress, now more than ever. This is HuffPollster for Monday, September 30, 2013.

GOV'T SHUTDOWN POLLING - Pollsters have turned their attention to the budget confrontation in Washington the seemingly inevitable government shutdown. Here is a summary of their findings.

Post/ABC - Scott Clement: “On the eve of a government shutdown, Americans disapprove of all players in Washington’s latest budget standoff in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, although they save particularly ire for Republicans handling of the fight to fund the government beyond midnight. Barely one in four (26 percent) approve of congressional Republicans’ handling of budget negotiations, while 34 percent approve of Democratic counterparts and 41 percent approve of Obama. In each case, larger numbers say they “disapprove” of how Republicans, Democrats and Obama are handling things. Underscoring the disgruntled mood, 27 percent of Americans disapprove of all three. The poll shows a stronger hand for Obama than a Post-ABC poll earlier this month where similar numbers said they trust Obama (43 percent) and congressional Republicans (40 percent) to better handle negotiations over the federal budget.” [WaPost]

HuffPost/YouGov - Emily Swanson: “Many Americans still expect Congress to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted over the weekend. But more than a quarter of Americans think that each side actually wants to cause a shutdown. According to the new poll, 44 percent of Americans said they expect a deal to avoid a shutdown, while 26 percent said that they think President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress won't reach a deal and the government will shut down. Another 30 percent said they weren't sure….A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted Sept. 18--19 found that 55 percent of respondents expected a deal to be reached, while only 18 percent said that they expected a shutdown.” [HuffPost]

CNN/ORC - Paul Steinhauser: “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….According to the poll, which was conducted Friday through Sunday, 46% say they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown, with 36% saying the president would be more responsible and 13% pointing fingers at both the GOP in Congress and Obama.” [CNN]

CBS/NYT & Pew Research - The new result from CNN is roughly consistent with a poll released late last week by CBS News and the New York Times. Slightly more say they would blame Republicans on the CNN (46 percent) and CBS/Times polls (44 percent) than on a third survey conducted last week by Pew Research (39 percent). [CBS/NYT, Pew Research]

Gallup - Frank Newport: “Americans are more likely to believe the current budget debate between President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress is an attempt by both sides to gain political advantage (47%) than an important battle over principles and the future direction of government (37%). These views are similar to Americans' attitudes on the day the government shut down in November 1995 as a result of that year's political impasse when 52% said the budget debate was political, while 37% said it was based on disagreement about principles.” [Gallup]

Pew Research - “Most Americans (61%) say they are following congressional talks to avoid a government shutdown very or fairly closely, while 39% are following this story not too or not at all closely. Among those younger than 30, however, 63% say they are not following news about the government shutdown closely, including nearly half (46%) who say they aren’t following it at all. Just 13% of young adults are tracking news about the budget battles in Congress very closely, compared with 30% of those ages 30--49, 47% of those ages 50--64 and 54% of those ages 65 and older.” [Pew Research]


'HISTORIC LOWS' FOR CONGRESS - CNN: "As the hours wind down toward a possible government shutdown because of a bitter partisan battle over the new health care law, the approval rating for Congress is plummeting to historic lows...According to a survey released Monday afternoon, just 10% of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, an all-time low in a CNN poll. And 87% say they disapprove of the job federal lawmakers are doing, higher than it's ever been in CNN polling. The 10% approval rating in the new CNN survey, which was conducted Friday through Sunday, is down 10 percentage points from CNN's previous survey at the beginning of the month. The 87% disapproval rating is a jump of nine points from the first week in September." [CNN]

LITTLE CERTAINTY ABOUT ACA, BUT LITTLE SUPPORT FOR DEFUNDING - Mark Blumenthal: “In his marathon speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) repeatedly invoked the will of ‘the American people’ in an effort to derail the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. If only his colleagues would ‘listen to the American people,’ Cruz said, ‘the vote would be 100 to 0 to defund Obamacare.’ Five recent surveys of the American public flatly contradict that assertion.

...Public opinion on the health care law is not easily summarized by a single question. While Americans are reluctant to ‘defund’ Obamacare, a broader look at polling on the law show considerable doubt and, most of all, uncertainty….Yet it is a mistake to assume that most Americans consider Obamacare an improvement or a step in the right direction. The new HuffPost/YouGov poll tested that proposition directly. It found that only one-third (33 percent) think the health care law ‘will be an improvement over the current system,’ while nearly half (47 percent) think it ‘will make things worse’ Four percent said the law will make no difference, and 16 percent are unsure.” [HuffPost]

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MONDAY'S ‘OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

--65 percent of uninsured Americans say they will get insurance rather than pay the ACA fine. [Gallup]

-Carl Bialik reviews the difficulty facing economists and pollsters in projecting usage of the ACA exchanges. [WSJ]

-Nate Cohn sees limited electoral consequences for a shutdown. [TNR]

-Justin Wolfers bets a shutdown will drive consumer confidence down. [@JustinWolfers]

-Glen Bolger (R) offers Republicans messaging advice on a government shutdown. [POS]

-Marist finds historically low support for the Tea Party. [Marist]

-Americans are more uncertain than ever of their chances at achieving the American Dream. [WaPost]

-Alex Lundry (R), working for the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign, finds support for prohibiting workplace discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. [Politico]

-RNC CTO Andy Barkett says Republicans "don't have enough data scientists." [SFGate]

-The Monkey Cage examines the gender gap in academia. [WaPost]

-Nielsen battles media industry frustration. [Variety]