Blame for Shutdown Falls along Partisan Lines, But a Majority Disagrees with the Tea Party

November 04, 2013

Who is to Blame?

Blame for the federal government shutdown fell out on partisan lines; 43% blame Republicans, 31% blame President Obama and Democrats in Congress and 19% say both parties are at fault.  The remaining 7% blame neither party or have no opinion.  Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats and Independents are divided between blaming Republicans (35%), Obama and the Democrats (32%) and assigning blame to both (26%).  The shutdown doesn’t appear to have hurt the GOP in Washington State beyond the partisan advantage Democrats already hold in the state, despite national coverage to the contrary.


Who is to Blame for the Federal Government Shutdown?

Few Agree with the Tea Party

A majority of Washington voters (53%) disagrees with the position the Tea Party took in the shutdown negotiations, while just 26% agree with the Tea Party’s position and another 21% say they have no opinion.  Further, intensity is on the Tea Party opponents’ side, 42% “strongly” disagree with the Tea Party, while only 15% “strongly” agree.  Democrats widely disagree (77%) with the Tea Party, as do a majority of Independents (52%).  Moreover, just 25% of Independents agree with the Tea Party position.   Even among Republicans there is not majority support for the Tea Party position; 22% of Republicans disagree with the Tea Party position, 31% have no opinion and just 47% agree.  The fact that the Tea Party does not garner majority support on the shutdown even among Republicans is a something of a wake-up call for the Tea Party and is indicative of a bigger problem for that group among the electorate as a whole.


Tea Party Position During Shutdown Negotiations

Generic Ballot for State Legislature

Twelve months out from the 2014 election, Democrats have a 9-point edge on the generic legislative ballot test.  Today, 41% of Washington voters would vote for a Democrat candidate for state legislature, while 32% would vote for a Republican and 27% have no partisan preference.  This Democrat edge on the generic ballot closely mirrors the partisan vote behavior of the Washington electorate as a whole – on average, we find a 8-9 point Democrat edge in vote behavior statewide.  Today, there is a gender gap on the generic ballot – men are divided but women favor a Democrat by a 20-point margin.  By age, a Republican does better among voters age 18-44 than among older voters.   Democrats are showing more loyalty to their own party, preferring a Democrat for legislature 89-2%, compared to Republicans who favor their own candidate 77-6%.  It’s a toss-up among Independents/others (29% Republican, 26% Democrat, 45% neither/don’t know).


This Moore Information, Inc. telephone survey was conducted October 23-24, 2013 among a representative sample of 500 likely voters in Washington State.  Both cell phone and landline telephone interviews were conducted, using live interviewers. The potential sampling error is plus or minus 4% at the 95% confidence level.


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