An interesting result from pollster Scott Rasmussen: 57% of voters say they think making deeper cuts in federal spending is more important than avoiding a partial government shutdown, while 31% disagree. I think this wording tends to make a favorable case for the position of the House Republican leadership; it speaks of a “partial government shutdown” rather than a “government shutdown.” But in fact any shutdown would be partial in accordance with exiting law, and a margin of almost 2-1 is pretty striking.
I argued a month ago, in my March 1 Examiner column, that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the political effect of the government shutdowns during the 1995-96 budget struggles between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, and as one piece of evidence citing similar results on this question from an earlier Rasmussen poll. I continue to marvel at how Washington insiders regard the 1995-96 events as a disaster for House Republicans when they lost only 9 seats at the next election—especially since many of these people don’t seem to regard the House Democrats’ loss of 63 seats in November 2010 as a disaster. In my perhaps biased view, 63 is a larger number than 9.Beltway ConfidentialNewt GingrichUSwashington examiner