Barone: About the Polls on Whose to Blame for the Gov’t Shutdown

Barone on the polls about who is to blame for the government shutdown:

“Many polls ask which side will be or is more to blame for the shutdown. Pluralities blame Barack Obama over Republicans (there’s some difference in question wording) — 39-36 and 38-30 (Pew), 44-35 (CBS), 42-32 (Fox News). When asked whether Republicans or the Obama administration is more to blame, it’s Republicans, 39-36 (National Journal).

A general rule in polling is that individuals are more popular than groups of people — especially groups of politicians. That Obama has only a small lead, and the Obama administration a statistically insignificant deficit, does not signal great presidential strength.

Note too that one-fifth to one-quarter are not sure. And when given the option of “both equally,” 58 percent choose that (Quinnipiac).

Acting like a responsible adult or a spoiled child? Spoiled child for Republicans in Congress, 69-25 (CNN/ORC). Responsible adult for Obama — but only by a 49-47 margin.

Clear majorities prefer that politicians compromise rather than stick to principle, majorities large enough that many people are not sticking to party lines on this.”

Barone is the author of the annual Almanac of American Politics, which is the key handbook for any election influencing operative. It is the starting point for all everyone, on both sides of the aisle for U.S. electoral politics.

Barone has forgotten more about politics than 99.99999% of Americans.

Here is his theory about what is really going on with the shut down, and what Americans are trying to communicate to Washington through the polls cited above:

“But one can also argue that each side has made blunders. House Republicans started by refusing to fund the government without defunding Obamacare — a result Democrats surely would never permit and which large majorities in polls oppose.

In response, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have flatly refused to negotiate. The administration has tried to block World War II veterans from visiting their open-air memorial.

Democrats believe that a shutdown would be politically disastrous for Republicans. But the 1995-96 wasn’t, and back then Bill Clinton made a great show of negotiating.

Obama’s refusal to negotiate is less attractive. It is stunning that 47 percent of Americans say that a twice-elected president is behaving like a spoiled child rather than a responsible adult.”

“Partisan struggles like this are not: Both sides can lose ground, as happened after grand bargain negotiations collapsed in August 2011.

The message I hear voters sending through their poll responses is that both sides are not acting competently. They’re not doing their job.

Members of Congress can survive politically even when voters think congressional leaders are incompetent.

But perceptions of incompetence can weaken and cripple a president.”

My own view is that Obama has no other accomplishment to protect of his entire Presidency, other than ObamaCare, and he is protecting it like a mother bear.

But his refusal to make or accept any changes to ObamaCare, given that he crammed it down the American’s collective throat on a completely partisan basis, means he is not acting rationally.

His refusal to accept any changes other than the ones he unilaterally makes, feeds into that view.

But equally, the public cannot understand or fathom or accept the willingness to risk adverse economic consequences or to fail to help those who truly depend on the government.

The GOP has lost ground with the public, but the President has lost all credibility with independent voters.

These facts should worry both parties, but the Democrats should be worried more, since their media fueled it’s-all-the-GOPs-fault is not working with independents, who they need to show up in the off-year election.

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