Georgia poll blames 'shutdown' on Democrats

ATLANTA — A plurality of Georgians blames Democrats for the shutdown of the federal government and favors repeal of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new poll of registered voters.

The survey of 1,000 active voters was conducted Tuesday and has a 3 percent margin of error.

“You would expect Republicans to blame the Democrats. You would expect the Democrats to blame the Republicans. But if you isolate the independents, they are almost two-to-one in blaming the Democrats,” said Mark Rountree, the president of Landmark Communications, which conducted the poll in partnership with Rosetta Stone Communications.

It showed that 33 percent of those questioned blame President Obama for the shutdown, 13 percent blame the Democrats, who control the Senate – a combined 46 percent. On the other hand, 39 percent fault the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, and 14 percent consider both sides equally culpable.

The overall tilt against Democrats may not be surprising in a state that has a pattern of electing Republicans, but a majority of people who consider themselves independent of the political parties also blame Democrats and want to scrap the federal health care reform law formally known as the Affordable Care Act and nicknamed “Obamacare.”

Among independents, 53 percent accuse Obama and the Senate Democrats while 29 percent condemn the action of the House GOP. Predictably, members of each party faulted the other.

When it comes to views on “Obamacare,” opinions still break along party lines. Among self-described independents, 53 percent favor defunding and repealing it while another 11 percent want it delayed for one year. Just 31 percent of these swing voters want it implemented.

Rountree said that 56 percent of the youngest voters, those ages 18-39, favor repeal. He speculates that it might because they will see their premiums rise the highest under the new law unless they qualify for a taxpayer subsidy.

“This is actually cutting into people that I think the Obama people didn’t expect,” he said, adding that young voters were a vital segment of Obama’s support.

National polls show a slight majority blaming Republicans for the shutdown and preferring to fund Obamacare than force the federal government to default on its debt. Rountree acknowledges that, but points out that in next year’s elections Republicans aren’t likely to be harmed either in Georgia or other states because House districts are so sharply aligned for one party or the other and the GOP Senate seats up for grabs in 2014 are all in conservative states.

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