The first major poll showing the political impact of the government shutdown is out, from NBC/SurveyMonkey. It’s not at all the rout a lot of pundits (and unhappy Democrats) have been projecting, but it does have some marginal good news for congressional Republicans:
About 4 in 10 people, or 39 percent, think Democrats in Congress are responsible for the shutdown, which began early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, citing insufficient progress on negotiations over the fate of young immigrants covered by the DACA program, withheld their support for a deal.
A similar share, 38 percent, blamed Trump for the shutdown. Just under 2 in 10 (18 percent) said Republicans in Congress were to blame. Taken together, however, the poll shows that a slight majority of Americans — 56 percent — blame the president and his party.
You will probably not be shocked to learn that people view the shutdown through their own partisan lens:
Eighty-five percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners blame Democrats for the shutdown. And while a third of Democrats and Democratic-leaners — 33 percent — blame Republicans for the shutdown, 62 percent of Democrats blame Trump.
Indies are split, of course, with 48 percent blaming Trump and 31 percent congressional Democrats. In terms of what may be the next government shutdown next month, Democrats may be in a better position than some imagine, if they can keep the focus of the immigration debate on the virtues of Dreamers rather than other aspects of immigration policy. Like their congressional representatives, rank-and-file Republicans are split over DACA, with 45 percent supporting it and 55 percent opposing it, while Democrats are united (supporting DACA by 92/8) and independents leaning in favor of it (by 58/37).
It is important to remember that the odds of these impressions of the shutdown staying the same over time, or mattering by November, are limited. And there’s one other dynamic congressional Republicans should keep in mind before getting too excited about their low profile in the blame assessments right now: Perhaps the single most important determinant of their fate in the midterm elections is the president’s approval ratings. So if wide-scale subscription to the Trump Shutdown proposition makes the president sneeze, they may well catch a cold.