Donald Trump is being blamed for government shutdown, according to a new poll

A new survey found that Donald Trump is suffering more than Democrats for the ongoing government shutdown

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 13, 2019 1:30PM (EST)

A wall along the border between the United States and Mexico (Getty/Omar Martinez)
A wall along the border between the United States and Mexico (Getty/Omar Martinez)

President Donald Trump is paying a serious political price for shutting down the government in order to get funding for a border wall.

Fifty-five percent of Americans believe Trump is more responsible for the government shutdown than Democrats in Congress, with only 32 percent blaming congressional Democrats and 9 percent saying both are equally responsible, according to a CNN/SSRS poll. In addition, 52 percent of respondents said that they did not consider the situation at the US-Mexico border to be a crisis, with only 45 percent describing it as one. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents who believe that there is a crisis at the border also felt that a border wall would help (amounting to 31 percent of the total respondents).

Overall 56 percent of respondents opposed the idea of building a border wall, while only 39 percent were in favor the idea. Meanwhile Trump's disapproval rating has jumped five points over the last month — from 52 percent in December to 57 percent last week — while his approval rating fell slightly, from 39 percent last month to 37 percent last week. One notable detail is that, while Democrats are unified in their belief that Trump is to blame for the government shutdown (89 percent feel that way), Republicans are a bit more split (65 percent of Republicans blame congressional Democrats but 23 percent also blame Trump). Forty-eight percent of independents blame Trump, compared to 34 percent who blame congressional Democrats and 14 percent who blame both sides.

For context, CNN compared Trump's approval rating in January 2019 with the approval rating of President Ronald Reagan in January 1983. Reagan was ultimately reelected in 1984 with 59 percent of the popular vote and the electoral votes of every polity except Minnesota and Washington, DC.

Trump's current approval rating matches Ronald Reagan's at this point in his presidency. January of 1983 was the only time during Reagan's tenure when his approval rating fell below 40%, according to Gallup. Trump has hit a low point of 35% in CNN's polling two times -- in December 2017 and February 2018 -- and has been at 40% or above just nine times out of the 20 CNN has polled on it.

Trump has tried on a number of occasions to blame Democrats for the government shutdown, such as when he tweeted in December that "Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything. He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don't vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown!"

Despite these claims, however, Trump actually admitted in December that if the shutdown occurred over the border wall, it would be his fault.

"I am proud to shut down the government for border security," Trump told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi during a televised press conference at the White House.

He added, "Because the people of this country don't want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

All Salon Border Wall Donald Trump Government Shutdown News & Politics Us-mexico Border Wall