A new poll done for Republican members of Congress has found huge public opposition, and solid opposition among Republicans, to the idea of shutting down the government over the issue of funding Obamacare.So ... shutting down the government in a doomed bid to repeal Obamacare less than a year after President Obama's re-election would be a complete disaster for Republicans. Duh. Not. A. Surprise. In fact, the only surprising thing is that they felt the need to conduct the poll at all.
In a national survey of 1,000 registered voters done July 31 and August 1, the question, from pollster David Winston, said, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down the government as a way to defund the president’s health care law” and asked respondents whether they favored or opposed that plan.
Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed opposed a shutdown, while 23 percent favored a shutdown. Among Republicans, 53 percent opposed, versus 37 percent who favored.
To the extent there's an issue at all here, it is the House—there aren't the votes in the Senate to force a shutdown. There probably aren't the votes in the House either, but it's at least theoretically possible if 216 of the 232 House Republicans decide that's what they want to do. (That number will grow to 217 of 233 when Rodney Alexander's seat is filled.) Still, even if John Boehner decided to embrace the shutdown scheme, it's really hard to imagine a scenario in which Democrats couldn't convince 17 Republicans to cross the aisle and support a discharge petition to allow a vote preventing a shutdown.
Given these numbers, the real question is less about whether there will be a shutdown and more about whether Republicans will tear themselves apart during the budget fight. And this poll is probably less about trying to convince members to oppose a shutdown than it is about John Boehner trying to explain to his conference why they shouldn't fire him if he agrees to hold a vote on legislation that keeps the government open and avoids a political disaster for his party.
While it's true that this is a mindblowing example of the stupidity gripping House Republicans (remember, not even Republican voters want a shutdown), at least John Boehner is finally working on a jobs plan. Too bad it's just a plan to save his own.