(Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
Recent polls suggest that a majority of Americans agree with congressional Republicans on many of the current debates over government spending and the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." Yet, Republicans in Congress remain deeply unpopular, with most Americans saying they act like spoiled children. This could mean that the public does not like their methods of achieving their goals, or they believe Republicans in Congress are incompetent.
Most Americans, by a two-to-one margin, 61 percent, believe that the debt ceiling should not be raised without conditions that would reduce the amount of debt, currently near $17 trillion, the government continues to accumulate each year, even if those conditions risk default, according to last week's Bloomberg poll. This is consistent with the Republican position and in opposition to President Barack Obama, who has demanded a non-conditional, or "clean," debt ceiling increase.
Polls also show most Americans, like Republicans in Congress, disapprove of the ACA. A recent CNBC poll found only 22 percent of the public who say they support the ACA.
(Support increases seven percentage points, to 29 percent, when the poll calls it "Obamacare." And, nearly one-in-three, 30 percent, did not know what the ACA was. The law as a whole has never had majority support, though individual parts of the law have shown majority support.)
A majority, 60 percent, agree with the GOP that the federal government has too much power, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Even with strong support on these high-profile issues, Republicans in Congress remain deeply unpopular. A June Gallup poll showed that only one-in-four, 26 percent, of Americans approve of Republicans in Congress, compared to 34 percent for Democrats in Congress. Approval among independents was near the average, at 23 percent, and only about half, 48 percent, of Republicans approved of Republicans in Congress.
Additionally, even though the ACA is unpopular, the public disapproves of the current method being used by congressional Republicans to defund the law. Republicans have made government funding bills contingent upon defunding or delaying implementation of the ACA. Since Democrats and Obama will not go along with eliminating or delaying Obama's signature achievement, the efforts will likely lead to a government shutdown.
A CNBC poll released Monday showed that a strong majority, 59 percent, of Americans do not believe the ACA should be defunded if it leads to a government shutdown. A CNN/ORC poll released Monday similarly showed that if there is a federal government shutdown, about half, 46 percent, of Americans would blame Republicans in Congress, while fewer, 36 percent, would blame Obama. Another recent poll, conducted by HuffPost/YouGov, showed that about half, 51 percent, of Americans believe that Republicans mostly favor the rich.
When asked if Republicans in Congress "have acted mostly like responsible adults or mostly like spoiled children during the recent debate over the federal budget," 69 percent answered "spoiled children." Fewer, 47 percent answered that Obama has acted like a spoiled child.