Whenever Republicans are confronted with awful polling numbers, I assume partisans on the right hope that the results are outliers. And as a rule, that may well be true – it’s wise not to take one poll, in isolation, as gospel.
But when every* poll points in the same direction, a party would be wise not to bury its head in the sand.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is one of the first national surveys to be conducted entirely after the recent crises were over, and it’s arguably worse for Republicans than the polls done during the shutdown.
The results cover quite a bit of ground, but there was one question in particular that stood out for me: respondents were asked whether they believe the various officials in Washington are more interested in doing what’s best for the country or what’s best for themselves politically. It’s an interesting question because it speaks to something that isn’t often polled: perceptions of motivations.
I put together the chart above to capture the results, which should terrify Republican officials. By a nearly four-to-one margin, Americans believe GOP lawmakers in Congress aren’t concerned with the nation’s best interests. That’s just astounding.
And it just gets worse from there. For example, while a narrow majority of Americans generally have a favorable opinion of President Obama, and 46% have positive views on congressional Democrats, only 32% have a favorable opinion of congressional Republicans. For Tea Partiers, the total drops to 26%.
Greg Sargent dug deeper into the results, and highlights data points that are just brutal for the GOP. Republicans trail on the generic congressional ballot by a whopping 11 points; Republicans are overwhelmingly blamed for the shutdown; and Republicans have shed public support on issues across the board.
The next question, of course, is what Republicans intend to do about it. In the days since the crisis was resolved, the GOP plan seems to be (a) complaining about a website Republicans don’t want to work anyway; (b) plan to kill immigration reform; (c) reject efforts at a budget compromise; and in some corners (d) threaten a sequel to this month’s fiasco early next year.
In other words, Republican support may be in free-fall, but let’s not assume they can’t fall further.