Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 23, 2009

WORST GOP RATING IN A DECADE.... CNN, releasing the results of its new poll this afternoon, reports, "The Republican Party's favorable rating among Americans is at lowest level in at least a decade, according to a new national poll."

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If this doesn't make the GOP nervous, it should. According to the poll, just 36% have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, while 54% have a negative opinion. When was the last time a CNN poll showed Republicans with a worse rating? According to the internals (pdf), it was December 1998 -- 11 years ago -- the same week House Republicans impeached then-President Bill Clinton and the GOP's favorability rating dropped to 31%.

On the other hand, a 53% majority have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party. Here's another homemade chart showing the difference between the two.

Now, Republicans can obviously still turn things around. As we talked about the other day, 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 results like these have to be disheartening. President Obama's poll numbers have fallen in recent months, and so has the Democrats' support in general. But Republicans have not only failed to capitalize, they're actually getting less popular and finding fewer Americans willing to even consider themselves members of the party. The GOP is simply moving backwards.

It occurs to me that the most frightening electoral scenario imaginable for Democrats right now would be a Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers -- the kind of steps that might improve a 36% favorable rating.

Fortunately for Dems, there's no reason to think this might happen.

Steve Benen 2:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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On the other hand, THIS should terrify the Democrats:

http://www.blogintegrity.net/2009/09/heres-the-ad-i-want-to-see.html

Posted by: Hank Roberts on October 23, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I have a hard time with folks who want to push for a flag-burning amendment and are also "tea-baggers."

To me, any flag desecration is free speech....but it's still a message.

The message is that you don't like America, or what she stands for.

The Republicans aren't liked by most Americans for several reasons, one of which is their anti-federal slant, closet Confederacy, etc.

We are a Union. To promote dis-unity hurts us all. To shrill about health care reform and a public option being equated with socialism is pathetic.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 23, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

And yet the tea baggers and town hall malcontents are given media coverage as thought they've tapped into the main artery of the american public. When Lindsey Graham got savaged at his town hall a couple weeks ago the video clip was every as though it was of major importance. No one commented on the fact that there were only about ten people there.

It's like the nation is being held hostage.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 23, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are the party of stupid.

Posted by: Patrick on October 23, 2009 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

A "Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers"

. . . would not be the Republican Party.

Posted by: Viceroy Matt on October 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

It occurs to me that the most frightening electoral scenario imaginable for Democrats right now would be a Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers -- the kind of steps that might improve a 36% favorable rating.

Steve takes a ride on the LOLercoaster!

Posted by: Monty on October 23, 2009 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

The worst polls since December 1998?

So what? In November 1998 the GOP successfully retained their majority in the House, although they did lose a handful of seats. They stayed even in the Senate.

In 2000, 2002, 2004? We know what happened in those years!

Don't count on any polls now for any guidance toward next year.

Posted by: kevmo on October 23, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Steve that it would be bad for Democrats, electorally, if the GOP "cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved toward the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers." But wouldn't that be a pretty good development for the country as a whole? To return to a place where we can actually debate public policy, where the opposition isn't so nutty (yet still treated as respectable by the media) that it threatens to take the country down with them? Where the Dems may not always get what they want (as if that happens now anyway), but where the alternative isn't just batsh*t crazy ("hey, I know, lets implement a spending freeze during the worst economic downturn in nearly a century!")?

Maybe it is fortunate for elected Democrats that there are no signs that the GOP will turn things around, but I think it's pretty bad for the rest of us.

Posted by: Scott on October 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

everything i'm reading indicates that the teabaggers are hellbent on pushing the party further to the right...david frum had a piece up the other day at theweek.com calling for the party to expand the tent and [referring to the dynamics of the ny special election] to stop committing "fratricide." the commentors were not amused...the rino hunters were out in full force...crusading for party purity

Posted by: dj spellchecka on October 23, 2009 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

"a Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers..."

...would be in severe withdrawal from an addiction to the Purple Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 23, 2009 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

The thing is, a lot of the teabaggers claim to be independents, and claim to dislike Republicans as much as Democrats. You see as much on Glenn Beck's show, where he doesn't claim to have any party affiliation.

However, as should be abundantly clear, they ain't voting for anybody to the left of Joe Lieberman. So I am taking the recent "Republicans are in deep doo-doo" polls with a heavy grain of salt.

Posted by: mmy on October 23, 2009 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see any of this dire news for Republicans reflected in anything other than nationwide generalized polls. All of the local, specific races still seem to be polling well for many Republicans.

And that is the worst news. The fact that despite how horribly they are at governance, despite how far they've tacked to the right in the last decade, despite how tolerant they are of the dangerous mix of stupidity and insanity, they're actually doing just fine.

And since placating the right wing has all but doomed actual health care reform, I see no reason to believe we won't be working with slimmer margins in the next couple of years.

Posted by: doubtful on October 23, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's over for the GOP. They have completely lost the Latino and Black vote.

If your not a millionaire, a Taliban Christian or a Racists Confederate it's really not the party for you.

I never understood why people supported the GOP anyway if they were not a millionaire.

I always thought poor or middle class Republicans thought they had more money than they actually had. They supported tax cuts for the rich like they were for them.


Crazy right.


Why would the Republicans before the insurance companies when the red state are the least insured.

I heard a Nobel Peace Prize winner put it all into context. He said it's something about there clinging to there Guns and God instead of voting for there financial interest.

Posted by: langs13 on October 23, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Scott @3:08 is absolutely right, an opposition party seriously debating actual policy decisions would be beneficial to the country and the world, unlike the present virtual psych ward led by the likes of Glenn Beck and John Boehner, who can only scream "no!" and, well, make stuff up. It looks like it may be a very long time, though.

Posted by: Fred Roberts on October 23, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The Repub party is a train wreck. That's what's driving it's polls down. Look for a party split by 2012 if 2010 is another disaster.

The Dems will also be in the dumper for 2010 if unemployment is high, the real economy is in the tank (despite all the happy talk about green shoots) and, healthcare reform and Wall St reform are shams.

So far the Dems are on track to have trouble in 2010 and 2012. A viable third party composed of disgusted independants, Repubs, and Dems is going to make America look like California in '03 or Minnesota in '98.

Let's hope the Dems realize they were voted in to make real change for the people, not the ruling oligarchy.

Posted by: Glen on October 23, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am with Scott and Fred. I could care less about bad things happening to the Democrats if it was good for the country. And as was discussed here last week, a less polarized system might actually result in more extreme legislation that would solve problems rather than only right of center to center solutions

Posted by: terry on October 23, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers"

That's what they've been doing since Raygun. The problem is that all of their "serious" policy prescriptions (tax cuts, trickle-down economics, unilateral diplomcy etc.)have failed. So now, they have no policies.

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 23, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

It occurs to me that the most frightening electoral scenario imaginable for Democrats right now would be a Republican Party that cleaned up its act, started taking public policy seriously, moved towards the American mainstream, and stopped taking orders from talk radio and teabaggers -- the kind of steps that might improve a 36% favorable rating.

What could happen is for 10-20 Republicans to take back some of the relatively conservative districts that the Democrats gained in 2006 and 2008. At least one of those is in Montana, which might suffer an economic decline if coal consumption takes a big hit.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on October 23, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

How do I reconcile this data with the Rasmussen poll released today indicating that "Voters Trust Republicans More on 10 Top Issues"? Are we drinking our own Kool-Aide?

Posted by: Neverted on October 23, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

But the teabaggers are leading the Republicans to a glorious comeback!
Look at the VA gov race and uh…. uh…. uh…well VA anyway
Forget NJ and NY-21, obviously VA is a bellweather

How dare anybody think that the Rs can only win in the old confederacy when they will be sending a gov to Richmond

Posted by: jefft452 on October 23, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kaine and Obama showed how Democrats can campaign and win in Virginina.

Deeds just flushed that all down the toilet and tried to go his own way.

He will lose.

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 23, 2009 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

The republican party isn't going to clean up its act. It is going to keep preaching no taxes, no government regulation of markets, no public option and a scale back of healthcare reform, and renewed American aggression against third rate powers and the war on terrorism as justifications for propping up the military industrial machinery. It will underfund any public service offering it can and then use the shortcomings resulting from the underfunding as proof that it was all a waste to begin with, so what the hell, it should be privatized if not eliminated. Ironically, the party that won't pay for anything except through public debt will be running as the fiscal responsible party during the next presidential election.

In the meantime, the democrats haven't distinguished themselves with tough love against the special interests and voting blocks that are never going to support them anyway. They go about proposing and pushing long overdue programs that are costly, but are not putting the tax funding in place to pay for them. Rather than being the party that serves the people who put them in to do its will, they are the party that is too timid to govern. They are the party that is not keeping the message about their governance simple and easy to understand.

As it stands now, the democrats are leaving the door wide open for a republican resurgence at the presidential level. Lack of consistency and cohesiveness will do it everytime. Chalk it up to inexperience, I guess, for no other reason than the alternative explanations are much darker and more cynical about the "true" nature of the differences between the two parties.

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Posted by: William on March 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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