Arkansans Blame Democrats for the Shutdown

by Charles C. W. Cooke

From Arkansas Business, some evidence that not everybody blames Republicans for the shutdown — even in a state with a Democratic governor and a Democratic senator:

Results from the 15th annual Arkansas Poll, conducted by the University of Arkansas, found respondants blaming President Barack Obama and the Democrats for the partial government shutdown.

The poll, conducted from Oct. 10-17, also showed declining approval ratings for Arkansas’ two Senators, Republican John Boozman and Democrat Mark Pryor, who faces a tough re-election challenge by U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

When it came to the partial federal government shutdown, Arkansans blamed the president and Democrats. A full 37 percent of respondents and 39 percent of likely voters blamed President Obama and the Democrats for the shutdown. Only 26 percent of respondents and 27 percent of likely voters blamed the Republicans in Congress.

Likewise, generic ballot questions went in Republicans’ favor:

The poll found the 2014 elections “too close to call” but that likely voters “were more likely to choose someone from the Republican Party” in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives or state Legislature for which no candidates were specified. In all, the poll found likely voters “leaning right.”

None of this is to say that the Republicans didn’t sustain damage during the shutdown, nor that Republicans didn’t sustain more damage than Democrats overall. And the usual caveats apply: generic ballots are pretty useless and the 2014 elections are a long way away and were never likely to hinge on a partial government shutdown in late 2013. What this does demonstrate is that the story is more complex than some have suggested. Would that those making breathless predictions remembered as much.

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