Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday sought to cast doubt on the results of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal that reflected widespread public blame toward the GOP for the government shutdown and Cruz’s own popularity suffering.
After delivering a hard-charging defense this morning of a strategy linking funding the government to defunding Obamacare — a strategy spearheaded by Cruz, which many critics argue contributed to the ongoing shutdown — Cruz quibbled with the methodology of the poll.
“If you seek out liberal Obama supporters and ask them their views, they’re going to tell you they’re liberal Obama supporters. That’s not reflective of where this country is,” Cruz told NBC News in an interview at the Capitol.
Cruz also asserted that the poll’s findings were undercut by the fact that nearly 20 percent of the poll’s sample were government employees — and therefore, according to Cruz, inclined to oppose the shutdown and support President Barack Obama.
“I’ll note that that poll was very heavily weighted with an awful lot of Democrats with an awful lot of Obama supporters and 20 percent of the people polled were government workers,” Cruz said.
The criticism calls to mind many of the “unskew” arguments made by conservative proponents of Mitt Romney in the months leading up to last year’s presidential election. Those conservatives criticized most mainstream polls — which largely reflected an advantage for President Barack Obama over Romney — because of the partisan identification of poll respondents.
The most recent NBC/WSJ poll comprised of 43 percent who identified themselves as Democrats (either strongly, not very strongly or lean), 32 percent who identified themselves as Republicans (either strongly, not very strongly, or lean), and another 19 percent who are strictly independent. That 11-point Democratic advantage is consistent with the combined data for all of the NBC/WSJ polls this year – a 13-point Democratic edge.
Moreover, the poll did show that 20 percent said someone in their household was a government worker (either local, state, or federal). But the NBC/WSJ pollsters say that such a result is consistent with other polls and statistical data. (After all, military personnel and teachers would be considered government workers.)