Revealing polls and GOP quotes on the shutdown and ACA

Republicans weren’t able to win the presidency in 2012 against the president who brought America the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare.

Since they couldn’t change the law through the normal constitutional processes, they cooked up a plan to try to overturn or thwart it by tying it to the budget and possibly even the debt limit.

Now they’re passing small pieces of the budget, in an attempt to avoid negotiating on the budget entire and to limit monies going to implementing the Affordable Care Act. Democrats in the Senate and the president have made it clear they’re not going along with that run-around.

How’s that going with the public?

The latest polls repeat the usual pattern on the ACA.

More people disapprove of the law than approve. A new CBS News poll shows 43% approve and 51% disapprove.

But, at the same time, a majority — 51% — either think the law is “about right” or want it to go further.

CBS News Poll. Oct. 1-2, 2013. N=1,021 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.

Note that Republicans are the only group where a majority thinks the ACA went too far and their views are solidly against it. A full 75% of Republicans think the ACA went too far.

In contrast, majorities of both Democrats and Independents think that the ACA is fine as is or should have gone further.

Democrats are a mirror image of Republicans, with 75% of them thinking the ACA is ok (48%) or something more robust (27%) should have been adopted.

53% of Independents are situated in the middle of the two parties, with 29% saying the ACA is “about right” and 24% saying it didn’t go far enough.

Given this pattern, you wouldn’t expect a great deal of support for limiting the ACA. But it gets worse for the GOP position.

On the showdown, very large numbers oppose the GOP strategy.

CBS News Poll. Oct. 1-2, 2013. N=1,021 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.

With 72% disapproving tying health policy to a shutdown, disapprovers obviously include people who dislike the law and think it went too far.

This puts the GOP squarely on the wrong side of public opinion.

Editorial pages from around the country, including from newspapers that take conservative positions, have also been scathing.

Now some Republican comments become especially revealing

As it has become increasingly clear that the shutdown is unpopular and tying it to undermining the ACA is also quite unpopular, some House GOP members seem really unsure about how they got in this position and where to go from here.

Of all the comments, this one is perhaps the most revealing and dismaying:

We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is. Rep. Marlin Stuzman (R-IN) [source]

As undermining the ACA has become an impossible task, Republicans seem to be having trouble bringing this situation to a conclusion. They need at least a face-saving effort so they can feel respected.

Reports indicate the House could pass a continuing resolution now, with the 20 plus Republicans who have said they support it, along with the Democrats. But Speaker Boehner has refused to let this vote take place.

And so the damage to people and our economy goes on.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.