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September 30, 2013

CNN Poll: Republicans Would Get Blamed More For a Shutdown Than Democrats... But Not By All That Much

Eh. I wouldn't take this as vindication for the Death or Glory position, but I think it provides some reason to doubt the perfectly-confident predictions of GOP doom.

Unlike people in Washington, DC, I can say without embarrassment that I cannot see the future clearly.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday morning, hours before funding for the government is scheduled to run out, also indicates that most Americans think Republicans in Congress are acting like spoiled children in this fiscal fight, with the public divided on whether the president is acting like a spoiled child or a responsible adult.

“Spoiled children”? Yes, that’s actually a quote from the poll itself, which is asked about both Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress.

Mm. Real Reporters.

And actually, the results from the three questions where this is asked isn’t as bright-line bad for Republicans as CNN reports. Barack Obama, for instance, only barely gets an edge as a “responsible adult” over “spoiled child” by 49/47, hardly an endorsement of his leadership. Among independents, that drops to 39/53. Republicans score worst in the comparison with a 25/69, but Democrats don’t do much better at 35/58, with independents scoring them 24/67, almost identical to the GOP’s 23/69.

A better look at the temperature of the electorate comes on a question about the object of the fight itself. ObamaCare gets a 38/57 approval rating, and majorities in most demos oppose it.

On the other hand, Jon Podhoretz explains why some in the Establishment are so wigged out over this -- because they expected they'd prosper from the 1995-96 shutdown and actually lost ground politically.

The political and social impact of the government shutdown was completely the reverse of what I had expected. For it was not Bill Clinton and the Democrats who were blamed for the shuttering of the government, but Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. Americans wanted the federal government up and running, and they didn't like the image (admittedly fed to them by the liberal media) of a petulant GOP having a temper tantrum because it couldn't get its way.

I learned one key political lesson from the calamitous confrontation in the fall of 1995, which is this: There is a huge divide in this country between people who follow politics closely, either as an avocation or a career, and the vast majority of Americans who don't.

That's certainly true, but I still don't know if one can make firm predictions about the whims of people who aren't very informed. I don't know if one can confidently say they'll make the same choice twice. And I further don't know if conservatives should preemptively cede the ground and assume they'll fail, rather than making a Best Efforts case to succeed.

But if you want to know why "RINOs" are so freaked out, that's it-- because it was tried before and, at least in the popular imagination, it backfired.

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posted by Ace at 01:05 PM

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