Democrats Still Favored for House Despite Shutdown, Poll Says

  • Shutdown was unnecessary, vast majority in Quinnipiac poll say
  • Voters blame Democrats, President Trump equally for shutdown
UVA's Sabato Says Shutdown Wasn't Democrats' Finest Hour

Most U.S. voters want Democrats to recapture the House and Senate in November even as they cast a large amount of blame for the federal government shutdown on the party’s shoulders, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

More than eight in 10 voters view the three-day shutdown as "mainly unnecessary," and given a choice they blame Democrats in Congress (32%) just as much as President Donald Trump (31%). Just 18 percent pointed to Republicans in Congress as the most responsible for triggering it.

Yet voters by a 51 percent to 38 percent margin said they want the Democratic Party to gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November’s midterm elections, with a similar margin saying it would be best if they win the Senate too. While the congressional Democrats’ 30% approval rating isn’t good, Republicans’ 24% approval rating is worse.

“American voters to the Democrats in Congress: We don’t like you, and we like your Republican counterparts even less,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. The shutdown, he said, was widely seen as a "big waste of time."

The federal government was forced to shutter most operations as lawmakers failed to agree on a plan to shield undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The shutdown lasted three days, ending when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to a temporary funding patch with verbal assurances from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider immigration legislation sometime in the coming weeks.

In the squabble to come, however, Democrats and some Republicans seeking protection for the so-called dreamers have an advantage in the polls over immigration hardliners. Seventy-five percent of those tallied said they supported allowing dreamers to remain in the U.S. legally.

Yet using that as an excuse to shut down the government? Those who want the Dreamers to stay, by a 10 percentage point margin, say the shutdown wasn’t worth it.

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