Most Americans

Three-quarters of Americans say the government shutdown, now tied for the longest in U.S. history, is “embarrassing for the country,” including a majority of Republicans, a new NPR/Ipsos Poll finds.

If no deal is struck by midnight Friday, this partial shutdown will be the longest ever. From late 1995 to early 1996, the government was shut down for 21 days. Friday is the 21st day of this current shutdown. Neither side appears ready to budge, and this poll and others make Democrats feel they have the upper hand.

And they have reason to feel that way — about 7 in 10 in the NPR/Ipsos Poll also say the government shutdown is going to hurt the country, that it will hurt the economy and that Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government now while budget talks continue. Just 3 in 10 believe the government should remain closed until there is funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Reuters/Ipsos Poll out Tuesday found that 51 percent of Americans said President Trump “deserves most of the blame,” up 4 points from late December 2018 around when the shutdown began. A YouGov Poll out this week found 50 percent also blamed Trump, also up 4 points from late December.

The NPR/Ipsos Poll also found that Trump’s Oval Office address Tuesday had little effect. Just 10 percent of Americans said the president’s speech brought the country closer to ending the government shutdown. (Nearly 4 in 10 said they did not watch or even follow the address.)

And not many, if anyone, beyond his base say his speech convinced them that there is a “crisis” at the Southern U.S. border. Just 38 percent of Americans overall said his speech convinced them of a crisis at the border, and only about a third said his speech convinced them there is a need for a wall along the border.

Most Americans1

Independents are not with the president on either of those critical points. By a 23-point margin, 50 percent to 27 percent, independents said they disagreed that the president’s speech convinced them of a need for a wall, and by 45 percent to 32 percent, independents said the president’s speech did not convince them of a crisis at the border. Fifty-three percent of independents said it’s never OK to shut down the government, as did 50 percent of Democrats. Just 25 percent of Republicans, though, said the same.

Not helping matters for either side is that the leaders in this showdown are not viewed favorably:

  • President Trump: 42 percent favorable, 52 percent unfavorable
  • Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: 39 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable (20 percent don’t know)
  • Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: 27 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable (33 percent don’t know)

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