Washington CNN  — 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never wanted a government shutdown over funding (or lack thereof) for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Shutdowns, McConnell argued, rarely work out politically for the party in power. “There is no education in the second kick of a mule,” he was fond of telling anyone who asked.

Boy, was Mitch right. 

In the wake of the 35-day government shutdown, a new Gallup Poll shows favorability for the Republican Party dipping to just 37% – down from 45% when Gallup last polled the question in September 2018. (The Democratic favorable number was largely unchanged: 44% in September, 45% now.)

The poll was in the field from January 21-27. While the shutdown ended on January 25, Gallup said that 70% of its interviews for the poll were already done by the time the deal was reached.

The same poll showed that 50% believed Democrats in Congress acted “more responsibly” in the shutdown negotiations, while just 39% said Trump acted as the more responsible party.

You don’t have to be a polling genius to understand what’s going on here. The shutdown – the longest in American history – tarnished an already banged and battered Republican brand. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

The Point: Given the damage they’ve already sustained, the prospect of another government shutdown in 16 days has to terrify every single Republican looking toward 2020. And what’s even more terrifying? No one – not even Donald Trump himself – knows what he will do when faced with another shutdown showdown.

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