A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll covers quite a bit of ground, with toplines that show President Obama’s support holding steady, Congress’ popularity scraping the bottom of the barrel, and support for stricter gun laws reaching its highest level in more than six years.
But looking through the internals (pdf) of the poll, I’m once again struck by how deeply unpopular Republicans have become. I put together this chart pointing to favorability ratings throughout 2012 for President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party.
The percentage of Americans who have a “very favorable” view of the Republican Party? Six. Ouch. This probably isn’t how GOP leaders hoped to kick off the new year and the new Congress.
What’s more, if Republicans proceed in the coming months to hold the debt ceiling hostage, threaten a government shutdown, and reject popular measures on preventing gun violence while casually talking up presidential impeachment, there’s no reason to think the party’s standing can’t deteriorate further.
I suspect some Republicans assume that everyone in Washington is unpopular right now, with a climate in which many Americans are frustrated and annoyed with political gridlock and acrimony. But that’s why polls like this are important – they make clear that public attitudes are more focused, and it’s one party in particular that’s drawing Americans’ ire.
It’s tempting to think results like these would give GOP officials pause, and encourage them to be more constructive and less opposed to compromise, but that still seems unlikely.
Also, just as an side, the poll also asked respondents which is “the most positive accomplishment” from the Obama administration’s first term. The number one answer was “bringing all the troops home from Iraq,” followed by “killing Osama bin Laden.”
The conventional wisdom holds Americans just don’t give a lot of thought to foreign policy and national security, but occasionally, there’s meaningful evidence to the contrary.