A new Bloomberg National Poll shows President Obama’s approval rating reaching a three-year high and public approval of Republicans reaching a three-year low. The same poll found that a plurality of Americans blame the congressional GOP, not Democrats, for “what’s wrong in Washington.”
And an interesting twist, the Bloomberg poll results aren’t the worst polling results for Republicans this morning. That prize goes to a new USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll, which suggests Americans just aren’t buying what Republicans are selling.
I put together this chart to highlight what’s arguably the most important result in the survey. With a week to go before the sequestration deadline hits, GOP leaders are convinced they can win a public-relations fight with the White House because, conservatives believe, Americans will blame Obama for the dangerous sequester policy that Republicans championed.
This poll suggests the GOP isn’t just wrong, its understanding of public attitudes is the exact opposite of reality. The public is prepared to hold Republicans responsible for this self-inflicted wound that will undermine the economy, the military, and public needs. The one thing the GOP is counting on – avoiding blame at all costs – is already failing miserably.
Indeed, looking ahead, voters were asked, “What should be the focus of steps to reduce the deficit?” A whopping 76% majority said there should be a combination of spending cuts and new revenue. Only 19% of the public – fewer than one in five – agrees with the Republicans cuts-only approach. Given the number of Americans who self-identify as members of the GOP, this suggests the Republican Party has failed to even persuade some of its own voters.
Wait, it gets even worse for Republicans (and better for Democrats).
On specific issues, the same poll found that Americans side with President Obama over the GOP on who has the better approach to reducing the deficit, who’s right on reducing gun violence, who has the better plan to deal with immigration, and by a huge margin, who’s better on the climate crisis.
What’s the good news for Republicans in these new national polls? There is no good news for Republicans in these new national polls.
Why does this matter? A couple of reasons. First, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) routinely insist that they speak for “the American people” and know exactly what “the American people” want and expect. I suspect they’ll keep repeating this silly talking point, but the only appropriate response to the argument is uproarious laughter. At this point, there is almost no overlap between what Americans want and what Republicans are offering – and lying about public attitudes won’t change that.
Second, fierce battles are taking shape in Washington right now – not just on the sequester, but also on a range of key domestic policies – and Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of the American mainstream on literally all of them. The smart move would be GOP leaders to recognize the direction of the prevailing winds and start to adapt, striking compromises with Democrats that both sides can live with.
The odds of Republicans making this smart move are roughly zero.