John Boehner Rigs a Poll to Convince His Own Republicans Not To Shut Down the Government

John Boehner

Things just keep getting worse for the Republicans. They based their entire party platform on running against healthcare for Americans, and it turns out, that’s a pretty lonely position. Yes, Americans follow that old self-preservation model of wanting to live. Go figure. Poor John Boehner has to find a way to convince his Tea caucus to stop destroying the party’s national chances.

Byron York reported on a new poll today for the Washington Examiner, “Among people who say at this point that they plan to vote for the Republican candidate in 2014 — regardless of who it is — 51 percent said they opposed a shutdown, while 40 percent favored it.”

On the surface, this is very, very bad news for the Republican Party, but truthfully, this is exactly the message that House leadership like Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is trying to impart to their rather dense Tea-freshman.

Conservatives, who live in a constant state of paranoia and mistrust of pretty much everyone but the latest Facebook message from the NRA, are already figuring out that the poll was rigged. See, the question was, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down the government as a way to defund the president’s health care law”. Respondents were asked whether they favored or opposed that plan.

Erick Erickson and other right wing brain trusts are staking their hopes on the notion that Republicans never said they were going to shut down government. They are just going to defund it and throw the economy into freefall until they get their way over ObamaCare. DUH.

Thus the question was rigged. NOT FAIR, liberal pollster.

However, the poll causing all of the drama was a Republican poll done for “Republican members of Congress” by an adviser to House leadership, who just so happens to keep warning Republican lawmakers to stop threatening to shut down the government.

A few of the alarm bells were, “Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed opposed a shutdown, while 23 percent favored a shutdown. Among Republicans, 53 percent opposed, versus 37 percent who favored.” It got worse, “Among Republicans who called themselves conservative, those who said they are very conservative favored shutdown by 63 percent to 27 percent, while those who said they are somewhat conservative opposed shutdown by 62 percent to 31 percent.”

Conservative Tea Partiers can’t unskew this poll, and claiming that they aren’t planning to shut down the government is a lame crutch that everyone but them knows won’t work. It will only work on them… And therein lay the trouble. Oh, epistemic closure how perfect you are.

However. The methodology hasn’t been released for this poll, as it was done for the GOP. It’s not on the Winston Group’s website. Never trust poll results when you can’t read the methodology (also, see the 2012 election).

So, smart conservatives could argue that it was done by Republican pollster and House leadership adviser David Winston who has been trying to warn Republicans to stop being stupid to no avail, even going so far as to tell the National Review, “The electorate expects Congress to govern. House Republicans are going to offer their health-care alternatives within that process.”

Winston is always handy when the party needs a meme established. Back in 2010, he managed to convince the media that 4 out of 10 Tea Partiers were Democrats or Independents. When was the last time you met a liberal Democrat who believed the lie that tax cuts for the rich were going to trickle down?

To be fair, this is an odd sampling because I’ve never heard a Tea Partier push for infrastructure or reducing employment over balancing the budget, yet Winston’s poll showed:

The group is united around two issues – the economy/jobs and reducing the deficit. They believe that cutting spending is the key to job creation and favor tax cuts as the best way to stimulate the economy. That said 61 percent of Tea Party members believe infrastructure spending creates jobs. Moreover, given the choice Tea Party members favor 63-32 reducing unemployment to 5 percent over balancing the budget.

So, paranoid conservatives are probably correct to question this poll in the sense that it may very well have an agenda aimed right at them. The nervous GOP leadership (hello, John Boehner) are probably using any means at their disposal to demonstrate to their members just how dumb they are being, including running a poll using a rational question instead of a loaded question. Look who’s not so crazy now.

It won’t work. What Republican leaders don’t realize is that their base and the lawmakers elected by that base in gerrymandered districts do not believe anyone other than super partisan hacks like Fox News and Breitbart. They can try all they want to lead those horses to the water of reality but it ain’t gonna happen.

Prepare yourselves for a shutdown, and comfort yourself with the knowledge that this epic disaster and irresponsible gamble puts the House in play in 2014. Meanwhile, John Boehner’s anxiety level just hit defcon 4 and this rigged poll isn’t going to make things right again.

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