A new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal shows that one politician lost big during the shutdown, but shockingly, that politician wasn't President Donald Trump — it was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
In a strange twist of fate that must befuddle those who cheered Pelosi's hard line on the subject of the shutdown, refusing to budge even an inch on the border wall in order to force the president to re-open the government without concessions on the part of Democrats, Pelosi's favorables tanked during her standoff.
More NBC/WSJ poll: Pelosi’s negatives shot up during government shutdown more than any pol // now the most unpopular politician tested in the survey. pic.twitter.com/pSMBFydwx7— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) January 27, 2019
Strangely enough, NBC, which commissioned the poll, focused not on individual lawmakers, but on Americans' impressions of the government overall, reporting that, "[a]fter the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, six-in-10 Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 70 percent of them have negative opinions on the state of the nation today."
It turns out, the individual numbers tell a story that lawmakers might want to follow.
In the previous poll, Pelosi had nearly a 50% approval rating. In the most recent poll, that number tanked nearly 20 points, leaving her competing for "least liked politician" with the president, whose numbers moved only twelve points.
Those who reported having a "negative view" of Pelosi increased by six points, even as both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's numbers stayed relatively the same.
Pelosi certainly believes she won the faceoff, telling CNN on Friday of last week that the shutdown was a "crisis Trump created," after the president called off the nearly five-week-long stalemate, even though neither side had changed position since December on the issue of his border wall. News media also quickly declared Pelosi the primary victor, and crowned the Democrats the "winners."
But the NBC/WSJ poll shows that there was a cost to the Democrats' calculation and that Trump isn't shouldering the blame for the shutdown — and the resulting non-agreement — alone. Trump may take the brunt of constituent anger, but that anger is mixed between those who feel Trump used the wrong strategy to take on the new Democratic House majority and those who believe Trump gave in on a key campaign promise — a strict, hard line on immigration.
As of Saturday, the government will remain open for at least another three weeks, during which time both sides will return to the bargaining table in an effort to find a long-term budget agreement that includes funding for at least seven separate agencies currently relying on a "continuing resolution" to continue operating. That agreement will, undoubtedly, have to outline long-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and according to the Trump White House, the president still will not sign a long-term funding agreement without some concessions on the border wall.