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With a Potential Shutdown on the Horizon, Campaign Anxiety Increases

The ongoing "negotiations" to find and pass a solution to avoid a government shutdown (with only three legislative days left) continues to bring a growing level of frustration among policymakers. But with just over 400 days until the general election and 111 days until the Iowa Caucus (the first primary of the 2024 presidential election cycle), many on Capitol Hill are evaluating the ramifications of a shutdown on their own campaigns and elections.

Recent polling has also highlighted that concerns among the American public may be growing. According to a poll conducted by the Partnership for Public Service, 65% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans indicated that a shutdown would impact them. A Morning Consult poll also found that 34% of voters would blame Republicans for a shutdown, 23% would blame the President, and 21% would blame Democrats.

For any incumbent, especially those in the majority of the House or Senate, there is campaign risk around a shutdown, regardless of who is to blame. The complex narrative around “we are the party in control, but others are to blame for a shutdown,” is one that could be tough to understand for those who do not have a deep understanding of how Congress works (or doesn’t).

Not only does a shutdown highlight the dysfunction of Congress (also something close to 50% say is a root cause of the shutdown), the economic concerns around a shutdown are cause for concern -- especially without knowing how long it would take to resolve a shutdown given the current political landscape.

There is certainly enough policy and political reason to come to an agreement before the end of the week. If that does not happen, the campaign trail will begin to ask a lot of uncomfortable questions.


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