Vast Majority of Americans Frustrated, Embarrassed by the Shutdown, Support Back Pay for Federal Workers

Ipsos poll on behalf of NPR

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, January 11, 2019 – The ongoing partial government shutdown, which is en route to being the longest shutdown in history, is looming large in the minds of Americans. Ipsos’ latest poll with NPR shows that three out of four Americans (74%) believe that the government shutdown is embarrassing for the country. Even though Democrats (87%) feel more strongly about this than Republicans (58%), a majority in both parties agree. Most Americans also believe that Congress should pass a bill to re-open the government now while budget talks continue (71%), once again with majority support coming from both Democrats (86%) and Republicans (56%).

Americans also believe that the gap in federal funding caused by the shutdown has unfairly impacted federal workers, who they believe should get back pay for the time they worked (83%). While this sentiment receives bipartisan support (with 90% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans who agree), almost half of Republicans believe that federal workers should work without pay during the shutdown to keep government services running (46%). A much smaller portion of Democrats agree (27%).

Trump’s speech did little to restore faith in the American people, as only one in ten thought it brought the country closer to ending the shutdown (10%). Much of the general frustration surrounding the situation also comes down to the belief that the government in Washington is not doing enough work across the aisle to end the shutdown. Democrats believe that the Trump administration is doing too little to work with Congressional Democrats (78%), while Republicans believe that Congressional Democrats are doing too little to work with Trump (76%).

Current sentiments toward the government in Washington in general are negative, with three-fourths reporting that they feel ‘frustrated’ or ‘angry’ toward the federal government (74%). Though there is widespread agreement that the shutdown is bad for the country, when it comes to the wall, the grip of partisan politics is strong. Nearly one in three Americans believe that we should keep the government closed until there is funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (31%), a sentiment which is largely driven by Republicans (58% vs. only 14% of Democrats).

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted January 9-10, 2019 on behalf of NPR. For the survey, a sample of 1,003 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 319 Democrats, 368 Republicans, and 198 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,003, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.3 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.8 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 7.9 percentage points for Independents.

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs

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