Shutdown pushes GOP approval into the basement

Republican leaders like John Boehner didn’t want to shut down the government to try to defund the Affordable Care Act but they went along with the Tea Party faction of their party.

Now, not only is the Republican Party paying the price but Americans are increasingly gravitating away from Republican positions.

Polls show that approval for the GOP is real, real low.

Just take a look at the Gallup data.

As the graph shows, favorable views toward the Democratic Party have dropped slightly, but views toward Republicans have plunged.

And that’s not the only poll that shows similar results.

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC survey finds just 24% of Americans hold a positive opinion of Republicans–a record low for the modern party. Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s approval rating has bumped up slightly in the last month to 47%. Even worse for Republicans, Obama’s signature health care law –which triggered the shutdown in the first place–is now liked by a higher percentage of Americans than at any point this year.

That’s right. Even as Republicans are seen increasingly negatively, President Obama’s approval numbers (while surely not especially high) have climbed.

The shutdown has increased support for government action to solve people’s problems.

Approval for the Affordable Care Act is also up.

More broadly,

[B]y a 52-percent-to-44 percent difference, respondents believe the government should do more to solve problems. Back in June, the public was split, 48 percent to 48 percent, on whether the government should do more or less.

“That is an ideological boomerang,” says McInturff, the GOP pollster. “As the debate has been going on, if there is a break, there is a break against the Republican position.” [source]

And, as Republicans have threatened not to raise the debt ceiling, the public has changed its views. This has been an educative period.  Now 63% of the public says that if Congress didn’t do this it would be a “real and serious problem” — the highest ever measured.

In the NBC/Wall St. Journal poll, 53% blame the Republican party for the shutdown, while only 31% blame Obama.

The 2014 elections are still over a year away. But right now the Republican party finds itself deeply unpopular, with a public newly appreciative of what the federal government does.

Asked if they prefer that Republicans or Democrats control the Congress after the 2014 congressional elections, 39% support Republicans and 47% want a Congress controlled by Democrats. This is quite a shift from the last poll, just a month ago, when 43% supported Republicans and 46% Democrats.

With the federal government still shut down and the debt ceiling not yet raised, Republicans have created quite the impression.

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.