Time sure flies. Last night at 11:59pm the federal government began to shut down for the 18th time since 1976 (and remember 18 in Hebrew-Chai means life) suggesting that there is still much life in the Grand Old Party.
While the media claims the shut-down is going to hurt the Republicans Gallup is reporting that public opinion did not change after the two shutdowns of 1985/86.
Interestingly out of the 17 previous shutdowns in many cases it didn’t matter the makeup of the Congress. For example the 4 shutdowns during the Carter administration saw a Democratic Party President fighting Congress led in both houses a member of the same Democratic party.
President Reagan who saw the most shutdowns 7 in the past 37 years was battling a split Congress
The last set of shutdowns the 2 during the Clinton Administration had a Democratic President facing off a Congress totally led by the GOP.
Most in the media claim that the experience of 1995/96 hurt the GOP, however according to Gallup that is a fantasy imagined by the liberal media.The two shutdowns of 1995/6 did little to impact Americans’ views the President or Speaker of the House.
Before the U.S. government shutdown on Nov. 14, 1995, President Clinton’s job approval stood at 52%. It dipped to 42% in an early January Gallup survey, but bounced back up to 52% by mid-March. His favorable rating took even less of a hit, falling just five percentage points to 54% in mid-January 1996 — after the second shutdown ended — from 59% in early November. And, his favorability climbed back up to 58% in mid-March 1996.
Americans’ views of the U.S. speaker of the House at the time, Newt Gingrich, are a bit more complicated. While Gingrich’s job approval suffered some in the short term, his favorability rating actually ticked up slightly just after the shutdown ended. But by February and March of 1996, Americans’ views of Gingrich were right back to where they were prior to the budget battle — relatively low — and stayed that way.
This is not to say that there will be no long-term change in public opinion after this budget battle is finished, but it does suggest that the definitive “Republicans are screwed” story being propagated by the mainstream media may be more wishful thinking than truth.