It’s only 10 months until the midterm elections and the Democrats in Congress might be shooting themselves in the foot. According to a recent poll, most Americans think it is more important to avoid a government shutdown than pass a bill to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The U.S. government shut down on Friday after Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a consensus on the spending bill. Democrats wouldn’t support the bill unless it included an agreement on the DACA program, which expires in March. DACA is the program that allows those who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children to stay. Republicans said they wouldn’t kneel to any DACA demands unless Democrats approve border security spending, which includes money for a border wall with Mexico.
60 votes were needed to keep the government open for one month. But because Republicans only have 51 seats, they needed a sizeable number of Democrats to vote in favor of the bill. That didn’t happen; the final vote was 50-49.
Democrats believe they have the backing of their constituents when it comes to taking a hard stance on DACA. Democrats also think any shutdown of the government will be blamed on President Trump and Republicans in Congress. So it’s a win-win for the Democrats.
Except it isn’t.
According to the poll, 21% of Americans would blame the government shutdown on Trump and 26% would pin the blame on Republicans in Congress. Roughly a third of American voters (31%) blame Democrats and 10% blame all three.
As expected, the political divide runs along party lines, with 62% of Republican voters blaming Democrats in Congress and 41% of Democrats blaming Republicans.
When it comes to the issues surrounding the government shutdown, Democrats come out on the losing end. A majority of American voters, 56%, say it’s more important to approve a budget and avoid a shutdown than continue the DACA program. Just 34% would choose DACA over a government shutdown.
The political divide is wide on this issue. Half (49%) of Democrats say DACA is worth the shutdown with 42% saying it’s more important to avoid a shutdown. A whopping 75% of Republicans and 57% of Independent voters say it’s more important to avoid a government shutdown than continue the DACA program.
That doesn’t mean Americans are not in favor of the DACA program; they are. 84% want to see the DACA program continue, including 72% of Republicans, 82% of Independents, and 96% of Democrats.
When it comes to shutting down the U.S. government though, most Americans don’t think the DACA program is worth temporarily laying off 850,000 government employees. A move that will cost the U.S. economy roughly $6.0 billion per week, reducing real gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.2% for each week the shutdown continues.
“CNN poll: DACA not worth a shutdown, except to Democrats,” CNN, January 19, 2018.
“CNN Poll Results,” CNN, January 19, 2018.
“GOLDMAN SACHS: The government shutdown will take a toll on the US economy, but the pain won’t last long,” Business Insider, January 20, 2018.