With the 2013 U.S. government shutdown now under way, congressional Republicans are walking away bruised, with their lowest approval rating ever, after more than a week of battling with Democrats and the president over a continuing resolution to keep federal agencies open.
After Democrats repeatedly knocked down House measures to delay or otherwise gut Obamacare, Republicans have lost out among Americans, with a majority of the public pointing the finger at them in a poll.
Seventy-four percent of voters who elected the polarized Congress disapprove of the job congressional Republicans are doing, as opposed to 17 percent who approve, the lowest score ever that the Quinnipiac University national poll has recorded.
The government shutdown is the first in 17 years, and resulted from an impasse between Republicans, who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats, who are refusing to drag the health care law into immediate budget solutions. Democrats are demanding a "clean" resolution from Republicans to keep the government funded for at least six weeks and then want to go to a House-Senate conference to discuss a more permanent solution.
Obamacare is still out of favor with a divided public. The same poll shows that 45 percent support it while 47 percent are in opposition. But if Congress is adamant about slashing funding for the law to prevent its implementation, then 58 percent of voters oppose this, while 34 percent are for it.
“Americans are certainly not in love with Obamacare, but they reject decisively the claim by congressional Republicans that it is so bad that it’s worth closing down the government to stop it,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Here are some other findings from the Quinnipiac poll:
- 72 percent oppose a government shutdown to block Obamacare;
- 64 percent oppose blocking a debt limit increase in order to stop the health care law;
- More Republicans (49 percent) support the government shutdown than those who oppose it (44 percent);
- As for Democrats, 90 percent oppose the shutdown versus 6 percent who support it; and
- Obama’s job approval rating is slightly lower than it was in the Aug. 2 poll, showing a 46 to 48 percent approval.
The recent poll was conducted among 1,497 registered voters between Sept. 23 and 29. You can read the rest of the results here.