The federal government may be reopening for now, but the effects of the record-breaking weeks-long shutdown are still reverberating — including in the form of dismal public opinion of President Donald Trump. According to a newly released Washington Post/ABC News poll, far more Americans blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown than blame Congressional Democrats, who refused to approve over $5 billion the president demanded for his long sought border that his imaginary criminals can just go around.
Ultimately, 53 percent pin the responsibility for the situation on Trump and his allies, while only 34 percent hold House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her allies responsible according to the latest measurements. The Washington Post notes that’s a narrower margin than found in another recent poll they conducted when the gap between the portions of Americans who blamed Democrats and those who blamed the GOP was 24 percent.
The question of responsibility is no small matter. In the more than one month that the shutdown dragged on, more than 800,000 federal employees missed multiple paychecks, leaving many of them in dire straits. Members of the Coast Guard had to rely on services like food banks to get by, which its leader denounced as “unacceptable.” Although now that Trump has agreed to let the government reopen until mid-February the affected workers will be getting pay covering the last month, that doesn’t erase what they went through.
By Friday, when Trump announced his plan to move forward, the shutdown’s effects were becoming ever more apparent. There were significant delays at major airports along the East Coast as the Federal Aviation Administration dealt with a shortage of air traffic controllers, who were among those not getting paid.
There were potentially even more serious ramifications on the horizon, since the food stamps program would have run out of funding at the end of next month unless something was done, potentially leaving millions of Americans hungry despite Trump’s expressed willingness to have the shutdown extend for months or even years.
These issues spell bad news for Trump’s political future. The same new Post-ABC poll that found most Americans blame him for the shutdown found that only 37 percent of Americans approve of his job performance. Just within the last few months, right before the midterm elections, his approval rating was higher, at 40 percent. Then, 53 percent of Americans actively disapproved of the job he was doing in office, and now, 58 percent do.
Ironically, Trump consistently claimed that many if not most Americans and even most affected government workers were on his side, despite evidence to the contrary. 54 percent of those surveyed in the new Post-ABC poll oppose Trump’s border wall push, while 42 percent support it, splitting the country roughly along party lines.
Interestingly enough, the evidence of public opposition to Trump’s agenda goes even further. 42 percent of those surveyed said they trust Pelosi and the Democrats more than Trump to handle border security, while only 40 percent answered the other way around.
These issues will no doubt come to a head in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, which is close enough — and already has enough declared candidates — to weigh heavily over the present proceedings.
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