What House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is selling, the public isn’t buying. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that most Americans approve of President Obama’s handling of the ongoing fiscal talks, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s most powerful Republican.
Oddly enough, part of the Speaker’s trouble comes from his own party. While Obama enjoys overwhelming support from Democrats, only 39% of Republicans endorse Boehner’s handling of the debt-reduction talks. Those who identify as “very conservative” approve of the Speaker’s efforts, but self-described “moderates” and those who are “somewhat conservative” do not.
It reinforces the larger perception that Boehner has impressed his base – and no one else.
Making matters slightly worse, for the House Republican leader, a new Bloomberg National Poll shows Obama’s approval rating reaching a three-year high, majorities of about 2-to-1 see the election results as a mandate to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits from GOP cuts, and nearly half of Republican voters agree that the president’s re-election serves as an endorsement to raise tax rates on income above $250,000.
It’s hard to say how much public pressure sways GOP leaders, but if the mainstream’s attitudes matter at all, it’s clear Republican arguments have failed spectacularly to persuade most of the country.
Last week, Karl Rove said congressional Republicans should ignore the major national polls, overlook the fact that the public is standing with the White House, and focus solely on a Republican poll, conducted for Republican lawmakers, that says most of the public agrees with the conservative position.
As more data becomes available, that appears to be horrible advice.