Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 20, 2009

GOP'S PUBLIC STANDING DETERIORATES.... We talked earlier about the new Washington Post/ABC News poll and the support for the public option as part of health care reform. The news wasn't good for Republicans: Americans not only support a public plan, but they consider it significantly more important than bipartisanship.

But for the GOP, that's just the beginning. Karl Rove boasted the other day that Republicans are "winning the health-care debate." It's hard to overstate how wrong this is. The Post/ABC poll points to a party moving quickly in the wrong direction.

Overall, 57 percent approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president and 40 percent disapprove.... Despite those mixed reviews on domestic priorities, Obama continues to hold a big political advantage over Republicans.

Poll respondents are evenly divided when asked whether they have confidence in Obama to make the right decisions for the country's future, but just 19 percent express confidence in the Republicans in Congress to do so. Even among Republicans, only 40 percent express confidence in the GOP congressional leadership to make good choices.

Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983.

Looking through the internals, confidence in congressional Republicans to make the right decisions has fallen over the course of the year, and it's now down to just 19%. To be sure, confidence in congressional Democrats is far from stellar, but it's nearly double the GOP's numbers.

But the fact that only 20% of adults self-identify as Republicans is the most striking result. To put the number in perspective, remember that in 1992, Ross Perot and whatever it was his party was called got about 19% of the vote nationwide. Republicans are only slightly stronger now.

It's far too early to predict with any confidence the electoral consequences of numbers like these. It's certainly possible that by this time next year, an anti-incumbent attitude will be strong enough to deliver significant gains for the GOP in the midterms.

But at this point, the public isn't buying what Republicans are selling. President Obama's support isn't as strong as it was -- though a 57% approval rating is pretty impressive at this point -- but the GOP has failed to capitalize. To the contrary, the minority, instead of positioning itself as a serious, credible alternative, is moving backwards.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

Can anybody really believe these polls after seeing the outpouring of discontent during the Tea Bag rallies this summer?

What are you going to believe - liberal polls or your own lying eyes?

Posted by: Al on October 20, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

i've an idea: let's move the 2010 election to somewhere between thanksgiving and 01Jan 2011...

the crazy zombie stoopid hate and fear spell the Repugs'll wanna spin might be overcome by the holiday spirit, and my worries about a Repugnant wave would be contained...

Posted by: neill on October 20, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

The "outpouring of discontent" this summer was so big you could fit it in a bus, Al.

People have seen the GOP for what it is, a tool for corporate kings and princes who want to hold on to their advantages.
That you choose to be their tool is your problem, but most people aren't buying it any more.

Posted by: SteinL on October 20, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

"i've an idea: let's move the 2010 election to somewhere between thanksgiving and 01Jan 2011... "

Excellent idea, neill. However, to get a jump on that seasonal spirit and goodwill(Christmas Crap is already on the shelves, and it ain't Halloween yet!), I think we should hold the election in early November next year. Say, the First Tuesday . .

Posted by: DAY on October 20, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

The problem for the GOP is that they refuse to recognize the seriousness of America's problems and absolutely refuse to provide credible alternative solutions. The public isn't in love with Democratic ideas, but at least they are presented as serious and thoughtful.

The Republican leadership seem to have forgotten the old saying in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. If they want to be taken seriously Republicans have to propose serious Republican solutions.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 20, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with SteinL above, noting that a steady 20-25% of people polled seem to live in Wingnut World, and believe what they want to believe (Al does a good job of parody representing this group).

Deluded, misled, or perhaps outright stupid, call them what you want, they are people, too.

Posted by: BuzzMon on October 20, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK
Can anybody really believe these polls after seeing the outpouring of discontent during the Tea Bag rallies this summer?

Using that logic, not only are we discontented, we are also campaigning for gay rights?

Posted by: reboho on October 20, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

I think the Republicans have made a big mistake by believing the handful of tea baggers, birthers and town hall malcontents are representative of the general public. In fact, the world is quickly passing those people by.

Also, the cable news stations may be infatuated with them, but I really do think they have turned off most Americans. Bringing guns to Presidential events, the racist signs, threats, almost delusional rancor towards any kind of reform or foreward movement...that may enchant the cable news world, but it looks freaky, frightening and threatening to most people. It's a desperate movement frozen in place swing violently at everything.

The Republicans may make a few gains in 2010 simply because their base is more energized. I think there will be some complacency on the left. But young voters, educated voters, african americans, hispanics, women, they're all lost to the Republicans. They're not going to make huge gains simply with bitter old racist whites.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 20, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

There are no serious Republican solutions. The only things they offer right now is "TAX CUTS, Impeach Obama's Birf Certificate, Bomb Iran, and No Sex For Anyone."

At least in 1994 they had a Contract with America to rally around. Today? They can't even jump-start a website. What the hell happened to the party?

Posted by: PaulW on October 20, 2009 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing about Republicans: they've had pretty much a blank check to pursue their agenda for a very long time. And it has failed spectacularly. Instead of revamping their policies to address those failures, they blame circumstance or the evil Dems and double down. And any rational, thinking person who is paying attention does NOT want more of the same.

Now if the Dems would get going & read up on the New Deal ...

Posted by: zhak on October 20, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell happened to the party?

Something about inmates and an asylum come to mind.

Posted by: TonyB on October 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell happened to the party? PaulW on October 20, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Talk radio and cable television.

The Republicans have allowed the "personalities" in their communications network to dictate their message. The "personalities" are interested in ratings and advertising revenue. To them serious doesn't sell.

That nobody in the Republican party is able to knock Rush or Glenn down a peg or two tells you that the inmates are running the asylum.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 20, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Can anybody really believe these polls after seeing the outpouring of discontent during the Tea Bag rallies this summer?

What are you going to believe - liberal polls or your own lying eyes?

The Teabaggers are a limited group (heh ... so true) of malcontents whose fury is mis-placed.

And the reason the Republican self-identification number is so low is because they are fed up with the liberal behavior of their elected Republicans.

Posted by: zhak on October 20, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

zhak, The Teabaggers (look up "teabagging" sometime, the standard definition is very interesting) do reflect real miscontent felt by many in America. Much of it is fueled by the realization that America is not the dominant economic power it once was. The economy can't seem to produce the number of quality jobs Americans need. Some of it is fueled by the perception that we are saddling our kids with a mountain of debt. Some of it is fueled by the belief that our elected officials are either unable or unwilling to address the problems of real Americans. All of those themes are familiar to progressives. Hell we have been concerned about them for years. A lot of folks are waking up to the brave new world created by GWB and the Republicans. They are flailing about, but their flailing isn't going anywhere. The anger of the mob is real. The mob doesn't propose any solutions.

This is a time of opportunity and dread for all of us. The Democrats have about a year to get it right, or somebody really evil is going to emerge with simple "solutions" that will poison us for a couple of generations. I sure hope that Obama is the next Roosevelt. We need one, because the guy who emerges from the Tea Party movement could be the next Hitler or Stalin.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 20, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

In response to Al, yes, I can believe those polls because as a Democratic Socialist in the tradition of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, I, and my fellow Socialist friends, regularly attend those Teabagger rallies not because we're Teabaggers but because we're political junkies who seek first to understand and then to be understood. It's wrong to assume that everyone at a rally is supportive of the ideas expressed at a rally. We attend because we want to understand what makes Teabaggers click and we find it entertaining. We've learned a lot and enjoy the cheap entertainment. We also attend Monster Truck/NASCAR events and roam the aisles at Wal-Mart for the same cheap amusement. Look closer next time; you'll see us.

Posted by: Drew on October 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

It is astonishing that the GOP's numbers are in the tank, given that the media environment so clearly favors them. Achieving this level of popularity is quite an accomplishment.

Posted by: AK Liberal on October 20, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

The people are not done punishing the GOP.

This is not a swinging pendulum. People who are becoming frustrated with Obama are not angry because he is being "too extreme" and swinging back to the GOP. Frustrated folks are thinking that Obama needs to be tougher.

Some people will return to the GOP if the GOP congressional caucus splits and moderates surface. If that happens, the Obama will become very effective, which will further lock the GOP into a losing position.

It's a Lose-Lose for the GOP. Stay right and Lose! OR "Go to the Center and Lose."

This will change only when people decide that Obama is actually a worse President that GWB.

Posted by: tom in ma on October 20, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983."

WTF ? Only 20% of the people identified themselves as republicans 3 years into Reagan ?? But, but, but, Reagan was the republican jesus, or so I am told.

Posted by: ScottW on October 20, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

In all fairness to our friends in the GOP, comparing the number of self-identified Republicans to Perot's percentage in the 92 election is a mistake. Sure, very few say they're GOP, but what matters is how they vote. The brand is in the toilet right now and I'm sure lots of people who are essentially Republicans are embarrassed to say so. It's important not to let the lousy numbers for the GOP breed complacency toward a major party with a history of digging out ugly elections.

Posted by: NHCt on October 20, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

This will change only when people decide that Obama is actually a worse President that GWB.
Posted by: tom in ma on October 20, 2009 at 9:47 AM.

Only somebody with the obstructionist skills and all round cluelessness of US Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner could accomplish that.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 20, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

What's wrong with modern republicans?

The rump they have left seems to think that doing the same thing over and over (tax cats) will result in a different outcome. Seems pretty clear to me, they are insane.

Posted by: Liam J on October 20, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers said:
look up "teabagging" sometime, the standard definition is very interesting . . .

Yep, the Republicans are so incompetent that they managed to take a common sex act in the gay community and turn it into something disgusting.


Posted by: SteveT on October 20, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

As long as you are looking up definiots, you might as well see what Santorum is.

Little Rickey has his legacy intact.

Posted by: BuzzMon on October 20, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

We wear America's scorn like a badge of honor.

Visit my blog to see my take on more important issues. Like why old white men should withdraw even more from popular culture, whether I should emigrate to Canada to demonstrate my distaste for government involvement in healthcare, and whether any Muslim man on the planet has a job.

Posted by: Myke K on October 20, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Well Mike K going to your site does explain a lot about you. Your basically a 71 year old bag of wind suffering from dementia,

Posted by: Gandalf on October 20, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you have your math and Karl Rove, presumably, has "THE math." Let's hope it's as accurate as in '06.

Posted by: T-Rex on October 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Ross Perot and whatever it was his party was called got about 19% of the vote nationwide. Republicans are only slightly stronger now.

This kind of analysis is self-deceiving and dangerous, because it distracts from the need to accomplish something during the next year.

According to the Washington Post poll, 20% of the public identify as Republican. In 1992 close to 0% of all voters identified with the Reform party.

But Perot still got 19% of the vote. Partisan identity doesn't automatically translate into votes on election day.

If Democrats want to hold onto the majority for the long-term, then they should focus on successfully governing the country, instead of wasting time reading tea leaves.

Posted by: Jinchi on October 20, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Karl Rove is wrong on everything....he's always been wrong. Plus he's a liar big time.

The repub party has only gotten worse since Bush and you'd have to have a pretty poor memory to forget the horror of the Bush administration.

All the death, displacement, victimization, torture, destroying the 4th amendment of the constitution and above all raping the economy to enrich the wealthiest 1% of Americans, leaving the rest of us devastated and on the verge of the 2nd repub great depression...AND repubs have not changed but have gotten much worse.

I'm surprised any repub is still in office after the damage they've done to our nation and they still want to drive us over the economic disaster cliff. All they have is criticism and grand standing for headlines and save for the filibuster would not be able to continue to obstruct our nation's progress. Time they woke up to their ridiculousness and got on board with doing what is good for the nation and not their party only.

Posted by: bjobotts on October 20, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

the discontent with obama seems to be concentrated in one part of the country....

current presidental approval numbers
NORTHEAST 82
SOUTH 27
MIDWEST 62
WEST 59

i would add that in the three not-south parts of the country, his approval numbers are higher than the percentage of the vote he received

Posted by: dj spellchecka on October 20, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

current presidental approval numbers
NORTHEAST 82
SOUTH 27
MIDWEST 62
WEST 59

Very impressive, actually.

I guess Obama won't be running for governor of Alabama anytime soon.

Posted by: Pug on October 20, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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