Early Hints of Shutdown Backlash in . . . Utah?

The backlash is beginning to materialize

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J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah

Judging from the behavior of elected leaders in Washington, six days of a shuttered government hasn’t been enough time for the polls to convince Republicans that they picked the wrong fight, or to persuade Democrats that they need to start negotiating. But the backlash is beginning to materialize. Among the most interesting signs: a poll from Utah’s Deseret News, which reveals that most of the state’s voters don’t believe interrupting government functions in an effort to stop Obamacare was worthwhile. The article goes on to note:

Nearly half of the Utahns surveyed also disapprove of the tea party’s influence on the shutdown that began Tuesday, and more than one-third disapprove of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a leader in the battle that led to the budget impasse.

“Utahns are conservative but pragmatic,” said Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “Utahns expect effectiveness and efficiency and results out of their government, not ideological tantrums.”

Jowers is a Romney Republican, so the cutting quote isn’t too surprising. But the poll numbers may be alarming. The Beehive State is the reddest in the U.S. It’s also where place where the Tea Party movement claimed its first RINO scalp. Back in May of 2010, five months before the Republican Party captured the House in a national wave, a few thousand conservative activists flooded Utah’s GOP nominating convention and toppled three-term Republican Senator Bob Bennett. By nearly any measure, Bennett was a solid conservative. But he supported the bank bailouts and the individual mandate, and he was pro-earmark (a stance that recent congressional gridlock might argue for reviving), and so out he went. In came Lee, a little-known but ideologically pure conservative.

Since entering the Senate, Lee has been as advertised: a Tea Party stalwart. He has been a reliable conservative vote on every piece of legislation, big or small. The scorecard compiled by Heritage Action for American ranks Lee as one of two senators with a 100% conservative rating; the other is Ted Cruz. And while Cruz got most of the credit, Lee was the original champion of the push to use the Sept. 30 government-funding deadline to fight Obamacare. If his negatives are rising, that may serve as a warning to Republicans in swing states.

Just don’t expect it to change Lee’s view that the government shutdown is a good place to take a stand on a health-care law that he describes in devastating terms. According to Brian Phillips, Lee’s communications director, the vast majority of the senators constituents have voiced support for his position. “I’m probably understating it to say it’s 100 to 1 in favor of what Senator Lee is doing,” says Phillips. “Today we’ve received probably 60 or 70 calls, and two of them have been negative.”

Lee isn’t up for reelection until 2016.

12 comments
scottermonk
scottermonk

Please note the poll was of 410 people.

"The poll of 410 Utahns statewide, conducted Oct. 3 by Dan Jones & Associates, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent."

RichardWarnick
RichardWarnick

You have to consider that in Utah we have five national parks, plus another 30 million acres of national forests and BLM lands managed by the federal government.  Nine Utah counties have declared a state of emergency because their economies have been crippled by the Republican Shutdown.

CONSTANTWEADER
CONSTANTWEADER

"... or to persuade Democrats that they need to start negotiating." -- Alex Altman

Really, Alex? Congrats again on the false equivalency. Please get out your old dictionary & check the meaning of negotiation. You know, that's where one side wants something & the other side wants something else, so they get together & try to work out their differences, with each side giving a little. 

Is that what's at stake in the shutdown & debt ceiling threat? Hell, no, as Speaker Boehner would say. The Boehner plan is where two sides say they want the same thing -- the government operating & the debt limit hiked -- but one side is offering nothing while demanding that the other side make major concessions, so they can both get what they already want. Now look up the meaning of extortion. 

In addition, Democrats have already made a major concession -- they have agreed to fund the CR at a rate favored by Republicans. And of course this is only a continuing resolution; it's not the actual budget. Consider the GOP demands the entry fee for getting them to sit down & start the actual budget negotiations.

Try to keep up, Alex. It's your job.

Constant Weader @ http://www.RealityChex.com



JanetEllingson
JanetEllingson

That Utahns oppose Mike Lee's radicalism is a surprise only to those who have stereotyped the citizens of this state.  When Mike Lee won his senate election in 2010 it was with 48.8% of the vote.  He received only 5,000 more votes that the Democratic candidate.  In 2008, Barack Obama won a majority of votes Salt Lake County, the most populated county in the state.

Utah is not a backwater radical-right state, in spite of the fact that Mike Lee thinks he speaks for us all.

Madseno42
Madseno42

"or to persuade Democrats that they need to start negotiating."

Don't get me started. a) Republicans have refused negotiations 18 times before this charade started - they could have done so at any time and avoided this whole charade. And, to make matters worse, the whole attempt to use the shutdown and maybe also the debt ceiling to change/defund/abolish a law that has a) been passed by congress, b) been upheld by the Supreme Court, c) been validated in a general election where the GOP lost on the topic big time - THAT is the worst kind of background to require the other party to be negotiating about. It will set a massively dangerous precedent if Dems should negotiate in that situation - basically, nothing would be valid law again as long as the minority party can just decide to stop government or debt payments until it gets what it wants. This is not a way to govern a modern, democratic country - so of course it should be flatly refused!

kathy
kathy

I used to be a phone counselor on a line that assisted parents.  I got lots of calls from mothers complaining that they couldn't get their adult children to wash their own clothes.  When I asked why they were washing their adult children's clothes, they would say that otherwise they would just leave them on the floor and they would be wearing dirty and smelly clothes.


I explained to Mom that as long as it mattered more to her that her adult children had clean clothes than it mattered to her children, she would be continuing to wash the clothes.  I suggested she just stop washing the clothes, and - perhaps - her children would get tired of not having clean clothes and wash them.  

 W hat good would "negotiating" with the kids do in that situation? 

notsacredh
notsacredh

If they're getting backlash in Utah, what happens in Ohio and Florida?

yogi
yogi

Utah: Primaries have consequences.

jmac
jmac

'"Nearly half of the Utahns surveyed also disapprove of the tea party’s influence on the shutdown that began Tuesday, and more than one-third disapprove of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a leader in the battle that led to the budget impasse."

Mike Lee IS Tea Party.  He's the other half of Ted Cruz.  They go hand in hand.    If half disapprove of the Tea Party, then half should disapprove of Mike Lee.  Are Utahans that dumb?  Obviously, yes.   



HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

OUCH!  Maybe now Le Grande Orange will listen to reason before the Tea-Baggers take the GOP down with them. 

ALLOW A VOTE ON A CLEAN CR / DEBT BILL!

jsfox
jsfox

Utah!? Uh Oh this isn't going to be good news for the Republican Taliban.

Jim'Prup'Benton
Jim'Prup'Benton

@HudsonValleyTim :

Please, as a long time fan of the Mets -- I even remember the 63 Mets, the year after the 'Amazin's' when Burright and Harkness were supposed to be the saviours -- and as a fan of the only person to get 500 hits for 4 different teams, I beg you, never use that nickname for the 'puppet with too many hands pulling his strings' our Squeaker of the House.  (But yes, I wish Rusty would open that glass door and admit what even the people I worked with on a temp assignment at MLB joked about.)