A new poll reveals that there were no winners in the recent debacle over a government shutdown — only losers. And there was no disincentive to prevent another one from coming in a few weeks.
Thirty-nine percent of Americans blame Democrats in Congress for the government shutdown, compared to 38 percent who blame Trump and 18 percent who blame Republicans in Congress, according to a poll by NBC News/SurveyMonkey. Although partisan politics played a major role in determining who blamed which side — Republicans were more likely to blame Democrats in Congress, while Democrats were more likely to blame either Trump or Republicans in Congress — independents were not inclined to let anyone off the hook. Thirty-one percent blamed Democrats in Congress, compared to 48 percent who blamed Trump and 16 percent who blamed Republicans.
Despite controlling all three branches of government, Republicans may have found that there's not much downside in another shutdown. Trump portrayed Democrats as obstructionists — and it worked. A Quinnipiac poll found that 32 percent held Democrats responsible, while 31 percent blamed Trump; only 18 percent blamed congressional Republicans.
"But that shutdown . . . It's on the Democrats and President Donald Trump," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a press release. "And it was a big waste of time. "
There was some good news for Democrats in the polls. When blame for Trump and congressional Republicans was combined, 56 percent wound up blaming the GOP in one form or another while only 39 percent blamed Democrats in Congress. Similarly, 60 percent of Americans thought Trump had failed to show strong leadership during the shutdown (including 68 percent of independents), while only 37 percent felt Trump had displayed strong leadership qualities (including 29 percent of independents).
A poll by Hart Research Associates taken last week had only 31 percent of Americans blaming Democrats for a possible government shutdown, with 42 percent blaming Trump and congressional Republicans. This means that they took a hit along with Trump and the GOP in general as a result of the shutdown shenanigans — an especially shameful fact given that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seemed to be on the wrong end of the deal and that the GOP's own behavior was a major cause of the debacle itself.
"The government shutdown is a sign of just how broken the Republican Party is. Why are we on the verge of a government shutdown?" David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, told Salon Talks last week. "Well because there's certain, everyone just understands that there's a certain percentage of the Republican Party that will never vote for the financing to raise the debt ceiling to allow the government to continue to operate."