Home » Republicans are addicted to shutdown battles voters are coming to despise

Republicans are addicted to shutdown battles voters are coming to despise

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of the GOP’s chief candidates for speaker, is already sowing the seeds of another government shutdown mere weeks after House Republicans narrowly avoided the last one.

This time, as The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes, Jordan plans to hold the government hostage for an extreme demand: The government can’t spend a single cent to “process or release” any migrants into the United States. Jordan reportedly intends his demand to be “non-negotiable,” meaning it must be included in any deal struck to keep the government funded by the mid-November deadline.

Bonus chaos points for Jordan: His demand to defund all migrant processing is illegal, functionally impossible, and would cost the U.S. billions in additional funding to scale up detention centers.

News of Jordan’s latest threat to the U.S. government and American taxpayers comes right as new polling shows that two-thirds of voters never want to see a shutdown for any reason.

In polling released Wednesday by the progressive consortium Navigator Research, 67% of voters agreed “it’s never right to shut down the federal government,” no matter what the cause—a notable net uptick of 12 points since July.

That view garnered majority support across all party lines, including 80% of Democrats, 71% of independents, and even 53% of Republicans.

Navigator also found that recent Republican efforts to take credit for routinely terrorizing the federal government have begun to sink in with voters. A 37% plurality of Americans would now blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown this fall, while 32% would blame President Joe Biden and Democrats and 26% blame them equally.

To Democratic news junkies, that 5-point difference may not seem like much, but generally speaking, most Americans don’t really tune into shutdown battles until the lights go off, government services falter, and the checks stop coming.

Over the past several weeks, however, voters increasingly view Republicans as the shutdown culprits, even though a shutdown was recently averted. In fact, just two weeks ago, Navigator found voters were more inclined to hold Biden and Democrats accountable for a shutdown, with 36% blaming them versus 34% blaming Republicans. So voters now blaming Republicans by 5 points represents a net shift of 7 points overall toward GOP culpability.

It’s worth noting that the survey was conducted Oct. 5-9, so news of House Republicans ejecting Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker and the ensuing mayhem is likely helping to shape voters’ views of who’s at fault. That’s certainly a welcome development for Democrats. Indeed, the share of voters saying they had heard “a lot” or “some” about a potential shutdown this fall jumped by 12 points in the two-week gap between Navigator surveys on the topic.

Voters also gave Biden and congressional Democrats some sanity plaudits for trying to keep the government functioning.

By 35 points, voters said the president sought to keep the government open (54% tried to keep open, 19% tried to shut down).

By 32 points, voters said congressional Democrats sought to keep the government open (51% tried to keep open, 21% tried to shut down).

Bar graph showing that majorities of voters believe both Biden and Democrats worked to keep the government open during the Sept. shutdown battle.

So the latest extreme ultimatum by a high-profile Republican in the running for speaker should only serve to further remind voters which party is responsible for the shutdown threats and overall congressional chaos they abhor.

Sign the petition: Rep. Jim Jordan ignored sexual abuse. Why is he sitting on committees?


October 2023