We know federal government shutdowns are rare occasions. What we don’t know is every exact federal government service that we Americans can live with and without and what we may be better off with and without.
So the shutdown, as much as I don’t like the idea of being furloughed, presents a rare opportunity for polling of citizens: pollers can measure the opinions of citizens in a real situation where the federal government provides far fewer services than normal. Normally citizens are polled about hypothetical situations; this allows for better measurements.
Credible results could be used to formulate government policy on what government services should and should not be cut under the eventual fiscal year 2012 budget.