Democrats have successfully implemented President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment despite a partial government shutdown led by House Republicans. It seems that Democrats have come out on top of the shut down with every poll indicating that the public places the majority of blame on House Republicans. Still, no poll shows an overwhelming majority favoring how the Senate Democrats or President handled the situation.
In an ABC/Washington Post poll only 24% of those asked favored the way Republicans were handling the shutdown. This result would appear to favor Democrats, but a CNN poll conducted between 10/18-10/20 showed 56% oppose the Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare". The ABC/Washington Post poll also showed that 61% asked did not agree with how Senate Democrats handled the shutdown and only 51% favored the President's actions.
The agreement reached between House Republicans and Senate Democrats only lasts until January 15th, and Republican Senator Ted Cruz hasn't ruled out another government shutdown. If there is another government shutdown or protracted debate over a shutdown Democrats could come out of the picture looking less rosy. The President decided to take a hardline stand against GOP attempts to alter the ACA. That tactic could backfire if the law continues to remain unpopular. Compacting this are the technical problems many potential customers are facing with the Healthcare.gov website. Visitors have faced blank screens, data errors, extended wait times and other technical glitches. The roll out was so poor that the President will be making remarks about it today from the Rose Garden.
It can be assumed that there will be many more implementation hiccups in 2014. If Republicans can capitalize on these problems by channeling user frustration Democrats will not be able to stonewall future negotiations. Focus on another default date and the ACA also takes attention away from other domestic policies of interest to the President. If Democrats do not extend some kind of olive branch to House Republicans in the coming months it could allow the narrative to be written by the GOP. House Republicans are taking a gamble. They are willing to accept low approval rating now in exchange for a "told you so" platform in 2016.