With the government shutdown in its 11th day, and just six days remaining to raise the debt limit, Republicans are bearing the brunt of public frustration with Washington’s dysfunction.
A majority of Americans, 53%, place more blame for the shutdown on the GOP according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released late Thursday, with 31% targeting President Barack Obama as more responsible for the shutdown. And in multiple surveys, favorable views of the Republican Party are at never-before-seen lows. In a Gallup survey, just 28% of Americans had a positive view of the GOP, and in the NBC/WSJ poll that number was 24%.
On the flip side, Obama’s approval numbers have ticked up, with a 51% favorable, 47% unfavorable score in the latest poll from the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports.
All told, the polling indicates a potentially catastrophic miscalculation by House Republicans, who in the pursuit of pleasing their conservative base have alienated large swaths of the rest of the country. The share of Americans who want a Republican-controlled Congress has dropped to the lowest level since early 2009.
In a closed door meeting this week, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who is one of the architects of the GOP’s shutdown strategy to demand the elimination of Obamacare, presented his colleagues with his own take on polling, arguing that if the GOP only stays the course it will improve its standing with the public. But most of his fellow Republicans, who cite almost every public and independent poll, feel that strategy is doomed to failure.
One congressional Republican aide, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, said the party’s pathway out is clear: “Surrender. If we’re lucky, conditional surrender.”