There would be plenty of blame to go around if there is a government shutdown over Obamacare, a new conservative poll reveals, but most voters care more about defunding the president's healthcare law or repealing it entirely.
"This poll commissioned by the Heritage Foundation's sister organization Heritage Action for America
demonstrates that the left cannot win the argument on either the policy front or the political front," said the group's CEO Michael Needham.
"House Republicans should be much more concerned with the fallout of failing to defund Obamacare than with the imaginary fallout of doing so," he said.
Heritage Action commissioned the poll, with GOP-leaning Basswood Research questioning 1,000 likely voters from 10 different congressional districts.
One-third of those polled said either Republicans in Congress or tea party-leaning lawmakers would be responsible for a shutdown. Another 41 percent said they'd blame Democrats or President Barack Obama, and 17 percent said they would blame politicians from both sides equally.
But those polled had a much stronger opinion over defunding Obamacare. Seventy-seven percent of the voters polled said they think the law should either be repealed or slowed down so changes can be added, while only 20 percent said the law should go ahead as written.
Only 5 percent of the Republicans polled and 17 percent of independents favor going ahead with Obamacare as it is. Among Democrats, 42 percent fully embrace Obamacare, 36 percent said it should be slowed down, and 17 percent call for its repeal.
In addition, voters said by a 57-34 percent margin that they favor defunding the healthcare law — and they agreed by a 2 to 1 margin with the idea of a temporary slowdown in nonessential federal government operations to get Obama to agree to at least a "time out" on implementing the healthcare law.
But the voters aren't optimistic that Obama will listen, saying by a 63-27 percent margin they think the president will push ahead with the law, even if it means a shutdown, rather than compromising.
Heritage pointed out that the voters polled came from potentially competitive districts, but still hold "highly negative views on Obamacare and strongly favor a slowdown in implementation or outright repeal of the law."
Further, Heritage said, Obama's close association with the healthcare law "gives him less flexibility to paint Obamacare opponents as extreme," as voters see him as uncompromising on the matter.
The poll is considered an attempt to persuade Republican lawmakers to sign on to letters that vow to oppose spending bills with funding for Obamacare, Politico reports.
The letters are proving more popular in the Republican-controlled House, where one from North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows has drawn 77 supporters. In the Senate, however, where Republican Sen. Mike Lee has written a similar letter, only 13 people have signed on, far short of the 41 votes Republicans need to stop a Senate spending bill.
Needham said Heritage Action's summer tour with Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, and Rafael Cruz, father of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, will push for congressional support for the movement.
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