While more people blame Republicans for the federal government shutdown, plenty also blame President Obama and the Democrats, suggesting no one has won the war for public opinion and Republicans are not yet suffering the grievous political consequences commonly predicted.
According to a CBS News poll conducted after the shutdown began October 1, 44 percent of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown and 35 percent blame Obama and the Democrats, while 17 percent blame both. The numbers are almost the same as before the shutdown.
CBS notes that during the last shutdown in November 1995 – widely said to have harmed the GOP – 51 percent of Americans blamed the Republicans in Congress and 28 blamed Bill Clinton.
At this stage, things could go either way. In calling congressional leaders to a meeting at the White House Wednesday, Obama and the Democrats demonstrated they are not sure their “we don’t talk to terrorists” strategy is working. The meeting was not substantive – merely a photo op designed to portray Obama as reasonable.
The advent of Obamacare – glitches, warts and all – will continue to help Republicans as the program they’re trying to eliminate gets bad press. Republicans have lots of cards in their deck: People don’t like Obamacare; people don’t like Obama; people don’t like the federal government.
The polls will play an important role here. Eventually, public opinion will weaken someone’s spine.