While voters oppose defunding the health care law, they strongly favor a move to delay Obamacare, and a majority wants all or part of the law repealed. But voters also strongly oppose the shutdown, view it negatively and think it is a serious problem.
Yet a majority believes their family won’t be significantly affected by it. That’s according to a Fox News national poll conducted after the shutdown began.
The new poll, released Thursday, finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans think the shutdown is a “serious problem,” including 58 percent who see it as “very serious,” while two-thirds think that government closing is “definitely a bad thing.” Comparatively, that is more than twice the number who say it “could be a good thing,” by 67-30 percent.
A 59-percent majority says their family won’t be “significantly affected” by the shutdown, while a still sizable 37-percent minority report that they will.
As far as how many voters blame “Republican leaders such as John Boehner,” for the shutdown, just 25 percent do and just about the same number point the finger at President Obama – 24 percent. Notably, only 17 percent blame “Tea Party Republicans such as Ted Cruz,” and surprisingly, only 8 percent blame “Democratic leaders such as Harry Reid.” One-fifth – 20 percent – think all of them are responsible for the shutdown.
By a 48-39 percent margin, voters say they trust Republicans in Congress more than President Obama when it comes to cutting government spending enough to make a difference in the deficit, while at the same time not cutting so much that valuable programs are hurt.
Those who identify with the Tea Party movement are more likely to think the government shutdown is not a serious problem – with 53 percent – and most say it could be a good thing at 71 percent. A surprisingly small figure of Tea Partiers place blame the shutdown solely on Obama at 49 percent.
President Obama’s overall job rating has improved 5 percentage points over last month’s Fox poll, with 45 percent approve now, which up from 40 percent in September. The increase comes from an improvement within his own party. A total of 84 percent of Democrats approve of Obama’s performance now, up from the record-low of 69 percent last month during the so-called crisis with Syria.
The president’s approval for his handling of health care has also improved, with 45 percent of voters approving and 38 percent approved in September.
Also, almost twice as many voters overall have a favorable opinion of Barack Obama as Ted Cruz, who has a 60 percent favorability rating among Tea Partiers. Both congressional majority leaders, Boehner and Reid, are wildly unpopular with their own, with Boehner’s 35 percent among Republicans and Reid’s 34 percent among Democrats.
Health Care Law
A 54-percent majority of voters would like to see all or part of the health care law repealed, which is actually down a bit from 58 percent who said that way in June, and the high of 61 percent in January of 2011. The 54 percent supporting repeal of at least some of the law matches a low recorded twice before by the Fox poll in October of 2012 and October of 2010.
Most people are happy with their current health care coverage – 76 percent – which suggests that Republicans are not getting the message across to the American people that they won’t likely be able to keep it. But, still, by a 52-36 percent margin, they say the pre-Obamacare system would be better for their family than the new law.
Even though a 57-percent majority saying the law “should be delayed for a year until more details are ironed out,” voters oppose defunding the law by a 53-41 percent.
However, even 39 percent of Democrats favor the move to delay Obamacare, as well as 55 percent of independents and a whole 80 percent of Republicans.
Not surprisingly, considering the media coverage, voters are more likely to think Cruz’s 21-hour speech did more to hurt – 36 percent – rather than help – 19 percent – his cause. However, 4 voters in 10 aren’t familiar enough with the speech to offer an opinion. Among Tea Partiers, 50 percent think Cruz’s speech helped, while just 16 percent say it caused more damage.
Views split over lawmakers’ attempts to cut off funding for the health care law, with 46% percent seeing it as “an important effort.” But the same number of voters say they consider it “a waste of time and effort.” A whopping 74 percent of Tea Partiers and 59 percent of Republicans call it an important effort, while 61 percent of Democrats view it as a waste of time.
What is potentially detrimental to Republicans, or rather conservatives, is that 64 percent of voters believe Obamacare will survive these battles and remain the law of the land, which is up from 56 percent who felt that way in 2011.
On general views of government, almost all voters – 88 percent – say “the government is in charge of the people.” That includes 83 percent of Democrats, 88 percent of independents and 94 percent of Republicans.
Only 8 percent feel “the people are in charge of the government.” That poses a few simple questions. Do Americans even understand their social contract anymore? And for those who say that and approve of the party in power, do they even know what true freedom looks and feels like anymore?
We shall see.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 952 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 1-2, 2013. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.