Just over one-quarter of Americans say that they’ve been personally affected by the shutdown or that they expect to be affected in the future. What they mean by that varies dramatically in scope and impact. For some, it’s meant simply long lines at the airport or increased concerns about food safety; others have been plunged into acute financial distress by the shutdown, or are trying to help their friends and family make ends meet. But weeks into the partial shutdown, the ripple effects are increasingly clear.
“Everyone is affected at this point,” summarized one Ohio woman who answered the survey. “People not being paid means they don’t buy, which means creditors and retailers don’t have income, which means they can’t pay their employees, and so on. Schools are not receiving needed funding from the [federal government]. Student loan payments aren’t going to my school. And so on…”
Here’s what a dozen of the people we polled across the country during the last two weeks have said about the shutdown consequences they’ve seen and whom they currently hold responsible for the standoff. Some quotes are lightly edited for brevity or clarity:
“My husband is an air traffic controller, deemed essential and working without pay during the shutdown. We are a single-income family, with a child who has special needs. This shutdown is causing us financial and emotional stress.” - California woman, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“My volunteer fire department’s DHS Grant to purchase new protective equipment isn’t being processed.” - Colorado man, says Trump, Republicans and Democrats are all responsible
“Family business is a major federal government contractor. I and two other family members won’t receive federal checks if the shutdown continues into February.” - New Mexico man, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“Had to cancel a trip to a national wildlife refuge to see migrating birds. They will be gone by next month. Now we have to wait until next year.” - California woman, says Trump is responsible
“My partner’s nonprofit works closely with the USDA. They are unable to request funds to continue building affordable homes. His pay comes from grants from USDA” - Washington woman, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“Both of my sisters-in-law work for the federal government and both have not been paid. They need help from my family to cover household expenses and food for my nieces and nephew.” - Indiana woman, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“Members of my family are active military, TSA, and Park Service. They will not receive paychecks until this shutdown is resolved. I hope the Democrats who partied with the lobbyists in Puerto Rico, Miami, Las Vegas, and Hawaii choke on their mai tais and fancy meals.” - California man, says Trump, Republicans and Democrats are all responsible
“My travel will be affected by the partial government shutdown because TSA agents are non-essential, not getting paid, and calling in sick, which is delaying flights by hours. Thanks, Trump.” - Montana woman, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“My son is an essential federal worker with a one-year-old and no way to buy diapers or baby food. He has to work but is not being paid. I am helping him out, but my funds are limited, too. Also, my son-in-law is on unpaid leave, but luckily, my daughter is working full-time. But she’s going on maternity leave in March, so they won’t have any money, either. Our family is devastated.” - Arizona woman, says Trump and Republicans are responsible
“I work in a tax filing department of a payroll company, and certain services are unavailable from the government. It’s now much more difficult to meet the Jan 31 deadlines for filing.” - Pennsylvania man, says Democrats are responsible
“I can’t apply for a federal job I’ve been pursuing.” - Idaho man, says Trump and Democrats are responsible
“I live on different types of assistance. This will affect me and already has started to, with SNAP. I fear that I will not have enough aid, run out of food and suffer. I could lose my home due to not being able to pay for my rent. This is SCARY. The thought of losing my medical care, as a disabled woman needing surgery soon, has caused me trauma from living in fear.” - Connecticut woman, says Trump is responsible
Congress, Trump, Get Low Marks For Handling Of Shutdown
As in previous HuffPost/YouGov surveys, the public gives negative marks to everyone in Washington for their handling of the shutdown. Americans are 42 points likelier to disapprove than approve of the way Congress has handled the shutdown. By smaller margins, they also disapprove of congressional Republicans (-23), Trump (-17), congressional Democrats (-15) and their own representatives (-9).
A 57 percent majority say Trump is at least partially responsible for the shutdown, a number that’s unchanged from last week’s survey. Forty-five percent name Democrats in Congress and 38 percent Republicans in Congress. Just 33 percent believe Trump is making a good-faith effort to end the shutdown rather than playing politics, with 34 percent saying the same of congressional Democrats, and 29 percent of congressional Republicans.
Americans say, 50 percent to 35 percent, that Trump should have compromised on the border wall in order to prevent gridlock. Another 15 percent say they aren’t sure.
What Other Polls Say
A review of other polling released in the past week finds Americans continuing to hold the president largely responsible for the impasse. Here’s what some of them have found:
Pew Research: “[B]oth opponents and supporters of expanding the U.S.-Mexico border wall overwhelmingly oppose making concessions to end the stalemate ... Overall opinion on the wall is little changed from last year, but these views have never been more sharply divided along partisan lines.”
Economist/YouGov: “As the partial government shutdown moves towards the end of its fourth week, the conflict between the Republican President and the Democrats in Congress is not one President Trump is winning … The [p]resident has been unable to convince most Americans that the wall is the best way to protect the country, or that a crisis on the border requires that he declare a national emergency in order to build a wall.”
Quinnipiac University: “American voters support 63 - 30 percent a Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security while negotiating funding for the [wall] ... The government shutdown has little effect on President Donald Trump’s job approval rating as American voters give him a negative 41 - 55 percent score, compared to a negative 39 - 52 percent approval rating December 19, before the shutdown.”
PBS NewsHour/Marist: “Convincing Americans that the government shutdown is an effective tool to bring about consensus on border security is a tough sell for President Donald Trump.”
Reuters/Ipsos: “More than half of Americans blame U.S. President Donald Trump for the partial federal government shutdown, despite his repeatedly faulting Democratic lawmakers.”
Morning Consult/Politico: “As the partial government shutdown enters its 26th day, a new survey suggests Democrats are winning the messaging battle when it comes to whom voters blame … 49 percent said they mostly blamed the president for the ongoing impasse, which has resulted in the shuttering of roughly one-fourth of the federal government. That figure is up 6 percentage points.”
Public Policy Polling (D): “The shutdown situation is not doing anything to help Trump’s cause. Only 35% of voters agree with Trump that the government should be kept closed until he gets funding for the wall to 60% who disagree.”
The Hill/HarrisX: “An overwhelmingly 70 percent of registered voters in the latest The Hill-HarrisX poll said they want Trump and Congress to reach some sort of compromise, compared to just 30 percent who say that sticking to principles is more important than ending the partial shutdown. The poll found that while Trump’s most fervent supporters approve of refusing to bend, no other demographic group did.”
Gallup: “As the federal government continues the longest shutdown in its history, Americans are most likely to cite ‘the government/poor leadership’ (29%) as the most important problem facing the country.”
HuffPost readers: Are you affected by the government shutdown? Email us about it. If you’re willing to be interviewed, please provide a phone number.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 18-20 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.