A couple of days ago, CNN, rather astonishingly, ran the results of one of their polls that showed that people weren’t all that happy with the Democrats’ reason for the shutdown. This was the bottom line:
CNN Poll just now pic.twitter.com/UOszRccwta
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) January 19, 2018
or, as Team McConnell has framed it:
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) January 19, 2018
The Democrats were a little slow in picking up on the subliminal message and so today CNN tried much harder: Why Democrats may be making the wrong bet on the shutdown.
The authors give a lot of reasons.
A majority of Americans, 56%, said approving a budget to avoid a government shutdown was more important for Congress to do than passing a bill to maintain the DACA program. Only one in three Americans, 34%, said they prioritized a DACA fix over avoiding a shutdown.
Overall, 8 in 10 Americans said it is extremely or very important for the President and Congress to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program this year, through which lower income children are able to get health insurance even if their parents aren’t covered.
That ranks as a higher priority for Americans than DACA overall (a smaller majority of 63% consider dealing with DACA as big a priority), and opens the door to GOP messaging suggesting Democrats are scuttling one popular program with more pressing funding concerns in favor of their pet issue.
Not quite half of Democrats — 49% — said they think that finding a solution for the roughly 690,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children is a higher priority than keeping the government open. A significant minority, 42%, said they think it’s more important to avoid the first government shutdown since 2013.
That’s not a very wide margin, and it held up only among liberal Democrats (57% picked DACA, 35% a budget agreement). Among Democrats who say they are ideologically moderate or conservative, 51% said approving a budget agreement is more important, while 40% choose DACA.
But a majority of independents, 57%, said they prioritized avoiding a government shutdown over finding a DACA solution. Only 34% said a DACA solution is more important.
Meanwhile, a broad 76% of independents said CHIP is extremely or very important, decidedly more than the 61% who said it’s extremely or very important to find a solution to DACA. (An even lower 56% said it’s extremely or very important to pass long-term spending bills to avoid government shutdowns.)
To recap, only the most liberal Democrats are in favor of a government shutdown over DACA. That’s it. It is a loser with moderate Democrats and with independents. The approval of CHIP has very deep support from just about everyone. The fact that CNN is screaming at them to make a deal is a sign of how bad things are.
If, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, McConnell and Ryan don’t go wobbly on us, we can win this shutdown battle.