The partial shutdown: Americans don’t see it ending soon

December 27, 2018, 6:30 PM GMT+0

One in three believe it will extend into January of the new year

Last week, Americans were convinced there would be a shutdown. This week, in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, they are not at all sure that it will end in the next few days. Many believe it will extend into 2019 and one in three hold that it will last well into January.

The expected shutdown length isn’t a matter of party politics. Republicans and Democrats both see it lasting equally long. The party difference comes on who is to blame and on the issue that has been the critical one – funds for the President’s wall on the Mexican border.

There is a lot of blame to go around. While slightly more attribute 'a lot' of the blame to Democrats in Congress than to the Republicans in Congress, even more say President Trump deserves 'a lot' of blame.

It may not be surprising that Republicans are four times as likely to say Democrats in Congress deserve a lot of the blame as to say Republicans there do. More than half of Democrats blame Republicans a lot, while just one in ten point the finger at their own party.

But seven in ten Republicans give their party in Congress at least a little responsibility for the shutdown, larger than the share of Republicans giving any blame at all to President Trump. For Democrats, more than eight in ten say the President deserves a lot of the blame. Fewer Democrats say that about the Republicans in Congress.

That makes the perceived principal antagonists the Congressional Democrats and President Trump. When Americans asked for a single answer to the question of who is most to blame, it is Donald Trump first, Democrats in Congress second, with the Congressional GOP far behind.

A majority cite Republicans (the President and those in Congress). Democrats are blamed by three-quarters of Republicans and just under a third of independents. For Democrats, it’s all about the President.

The President has insisted on funding for a border wall, something Democrats oppose, but the issue divides the country in half. 43% favor the wall, 43% oppose it. This even division may make it difficult to reach some compromise on the budget (something majorities of both wall supporters and wall opponents in this poll would like their lawmakers to do).

Republicans have been more worried than Democrats about immigration for a long time: it ranks number one as their most important issue, with one in four in this poll naming it. 71% of Republicans say illegal immigration is a “very serious” problem in the country (though just one in four describe it as a “very serious” problem in their own community). Nearly half of Republicans would decrease legal immigration.

But there is little evidence that either party gains from a debate focused on immigration. Republicans very narrowly lead as the party most trusted on border security, with the country evenly split when it comes to the party trusted most on immigration reform. But nearly a quarter overall (and four in ten independents) trust neither party.

See the full toplines and tables results

Photo: Getty