Since repeals and attempts to undermine haven't been effective at getting rid of Obamacare, some Republicans have begun to advocate a new strategy–threatening a government shutdown unless Obamacare is defunded in the upcoming fall budget. A lot of Republicans oppose going this far, but there's a vocal contingent of crazies who think this extreme measure is a good idea. This includes our own senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who both support this controversial strategy.
In an attempt to assuage the fears of Republicans who aren't as enthusiastic about the prospect of shutting down the government, the conservative Heritage foundation released a poll last week supposedly showing that Americans favor defunding Obamacare. Heritage claims that support for defunding Obamcare in 10 “critical congressional districts” (all of which happen to lean Republican) means that the entire country opposes implementing the new healthcare law. According to Heritage, their poll results mean “Republicans should be much more concerned with the fallout of failing to defund Obamacare than with the imaginary fallout of doing so.”
But it seems like Heritage didn't finish reading their own poll. Because when respondents were asked whom they'd blame for a government shutdown over Obamacare, the top response was Republicans in Congress. That fallout is far from imaginary. Moreover, the if Heritage had actually read the poll, they'd have seen that a majority of Republicans think the Affordable Care Act should be kept in place. Only 44.5% of respondents said they “oppose the health care law and think it should be repealed,” while 52% said they “either support the law as is or have some concerns, but say they think implementation should move forward.”
Read about more ways Republicans support Obamacare after the jump.The results of the Heritage poll are especially damning because the poll drastically oversamples Republicans. Heritage's sample was 41.8% Republican and only 33% Democrat. But as Salon explains, nationally, more people identify as Democrats than Republicans by a margin of 7 percentage points. That means Heritage's poll is oversampling Republicans by as much as 15 percent. And yet in a poll where Republicans are vastly overrepresented, a majority still wanted to keep Obamacare, and a plurality said they'd blame Republicans for a government shutdown.
The Heritage poll is just the latest in GOP efforts to trick the American public into thinking Obamacare is unpopular. Though Republicans like to ramble about how Americans don't support Obamacare, the fact is that's simply untrue. A nonpartisan 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that the majority of Americans support almost every component of the Affordable Care Act. This includes Republicans–Kaiser found that “Republicans feel favorable towards seven of the 11 provisions” of Obamacare asked about in the poll, including tax credits to small businesses, closing the Medicare “doughnut hole”, and healthcare exchanges.
As Congress starts debating the budget in the upcoming weeks, the topic of Obamacare will inevitably come up, and Ted Cruz and other Republicans will most likely try to use it to shut down the government. But if they do so, they won't be representing the interests of the American public, or even of other Republicans. Their “temper tantrum” is just for show, and it will prove once again that Ted Cruz and Tea Party leaders only care about themselves, and not the will of the people.