Washington -- Americans may be divided about the Affordable Care Act, but most did not want the federal government to be shut down in an attempt to block implementation of Obamacare, a new Quinnipiac poll shows.
The poll also gave “generic“ Democratic candidates a 9-point edge over Republicans in 2014 congressional races, 43 percent – 34 percent, the widest Democratic margin measured so far.
The poll, taken Sept. 23 to Sept. 29, showed that American voters oppose -- 72 percent – 22 percent -- Congress' shutting down of the federal government in a bid to stop Obamacare.
Immediately after midnight today, the federal government shut down, except for essential services, national security functions and entitlement programs, because Congress could not agree on a temporary spending bill that would keep the federal agencies running.
House Republicans wanted to link that spending measure, or “continuing resolution,” to defunding or delaying Obamacare. Senate Democrats repeatedly blocked that move, insisting on a “clean” CR. There is no clear solution to the impasse.
The Quinnipiac poll showed American voters are divided on Obamacare, with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed, but they are opposed 58 percent – 34 percent to Congress' cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation.
"Americans are certainly not in love with Obamacare, but they reject decisively the claim by Congressional Republicans that it is so bad that it’s worth closing down the government to stop it,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The poll also showed that Republicans support the federal government shutdown by a narrow 49 percent – 44 percent, but opposition is 90 percent – 6 percent among Democrats and 74 percent – 19 percent among independent voters.
President Barack Obama received a negative 45 percent – 49 percent overall job approval rating, compared with his 46 percent – 48 percent score Aug. 2. But more Americans blamed Republicans in Congress than the president for the shutdown, the survey said. But they were split on who is responsible for the budget deficit.
“On almost all questions, voters see President Obama as more reasonable, and better able to handle the issues,” Brown said. “But it is not because the president is beloved. He remains under water in job approval and is tied with congressional Republicans on who best handles the budget deficit. Voters are angry at almost everyone in Washington over their inability to keep the trains running, but they are madder at the Republicans than the Democrats.”
Voters are divided on the federal budget deficit, the poll said, as 43 percent trust Obama and 42 percent trust Republicans. On gun policy, Republicans get 45 percent to Obama’s 42 percent.