The Slatest

Americans Blame Trump, GOP for Shutdown as Support for Wall Increases

People rally against the partial federal government shutdown outside the U.S. Capitol on January 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
People rally against the partial federal government shutdown outside the U.S. Capitol on January 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Before the partial government shutdown began, President Donald Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.” And now it seems Americans have picked up on that message and hold him, along with congressional Republicans, largely responsible for what is the longest government shutdown in history, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. And it isn’t even close. More than half—53 percent—of Americans blame Trump and Republicans in Congress for the shutdown, while only 29 percent say Democrat are at fault and 13 percent say both are to blame. That is in line with a CNN poll that showed 55 percent say Trump is to blame for the shutdown, while 32 percent point the finger mostly at Democrats.

As could be expected, there is a clear partisan split in the blame with 85 percent of Democrats putting responsibility on Trump and Republicans and 68 percent of Republicans saying Democrats are at fault. Independents are the tie breakers as 53 percent say they blame Trump and Republicans rather than Democrats (23 percent), according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll.

Even as Americans blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, support for the border wall has reached an all-time high. Those who support a wall has increased to 42 percent, up from 34 percent in January of last year. A slight majority of Americans—54 percent—oppose the wall, a number that has decreased from a year ago when it was at 63 percent. That change is largely due to an increase in support among Republicans. Support for the wall among Republicans has soared 16 percentage points to 87 percent. But that doesn’t mean Americans think there is a crisis at the border. Only 24 percent see it that way, and even among those who support the wall, only 46 percent say the situation has reached a crisis.

For the vast majority of Americans, the effects of the government shutdown continue to be largely abstract. While 18 percent of Americans say they have been inconvenienced by the shutdown, only 7 percent say it has been a major problem. Still, that shouldn’t be seen as a sign that the shutdown can last indefinitely. Seventy-nine percent of Americans said the shutdown would be a serious problem or crisis if it continues for months.