COMMENTARY | Everyone knows the Republican Party is taking it on the chin during the government shutdown, because media says just that.
So why aren’t Republicans blinking if the polls are so bad? Their polls show the government shutdown is quite popular. That seems to be the thinking behind Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, caught on an open microphone talking about how they’ll “win” the shutdown. What numbers are they looking at?
According to “soopermexican” (no real name given) on the website “Independent Journal Review,” a Rasmussen Poll shows “Majority of Americans favor government shutdown until Congress cuts Obamacare.” The article by soopermexican goes on to say “In a huge boost for conservatives trying to trim or kill Obamacare, a new Rasmussen Reports just out finds that 51 percent of voters back shutting down the government until major cuts are made in the new health care program that begins Oct. 1.”
The article contends that tea party approval is at 39% and 78% of Republicans saying Congress should listen to the tea party. It concludes by saying “But will the GOP listen to the people or continue acquiescing to the president?”
When I click on the link to the poll, I get an ad saying Obama should be impeached instead of the poll. The poll asks a few questions, then directs me to give my first name and address and get free alerts from Personal Liberty Digest. I never got the poll.
But soopermexican is hardly the only voice out there. On Breitbart News (dated September 23) a Pew Research Poll found 39 percent of voters blame Republicans, 36 percent blame Obama and 17 percent say both should be blamed, allegedly worse for Democrats than 1995. The Breitbart.com article also claims “the public is not watching the potential government shutdown very closely.”
But when you click on the link, you get (1) the poll, (2) a pop-up ad, and (3) a finding that showed 50 percent of voters oppose the House Republican effort to defund Obamacare as part of any budget deal, with only 38 percent supporting such a move. That doesn’t appear anywhere in the Breitbart story.
Conservative-leaning findings are in direct contrast with the CNN poll (from Sept. 30) showing more Americans support Obama’s position, and think Republicans are to blame more than Democrats. Another poll, from Quinnipiac University, finds not only 72 percent of Americans oppose shutting down the government to cut off funding the health care law. The National Journal poll (from Sept. 23) finds similar results. Even a majority of Republicans support the plan to “provide the funding to keep the government operating and deal with the health care issue separately.”
This is reminiscent of the 2012 election, where Romney supporters were convinced they had a double-digit lead and traditional media polls showing an Obama lead were biased. This led to a shocked Romney and Karl Rove on Election Night, of course. The site “unskewedpolls.com” can’t even be displayed, and I doubt a government shutdown is responsible for this one.
Like Election Night 2012 and those that claimed Americans were secretly racist and would pull a Bradley Effect in 2008, we’ll eventually see. But even then, there’s a chance some won’t accept any result other than the one they want. When I spoke with Georgia tea party groups, they used that evidence from “unskewed polls” as proof that Obama stole the election, and needs to be impeached.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. Image posted by Dylan Otto Krider at examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/article/unskewed-polls-vs-nate-silver).