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Top links: Public opinion and Republicans still aren't on speaking terms

Top story: Polls! Polls! Polls! that are Bad! Bad! Bad! for the GOP.
New polls have a lot to make Republicans unhappy.
New polls have a lot to make Republicans unhappy.

Top story: Polls! Polls! Polls! that are Bad! Bad! Bad! for the GOP.

  • A majority of people want stricter gun laws--a 15-point increase from April. And an almost exact majority--53%--want an assault weapons ban. (The New York Times)
  • How bad is the GOP viewed? “The NRA is viewed far more positively than the GOP, 41% to 26%, in new WSJ/NBC poll.” (Neil King)
  • “The GOP's 49% negative rating is the highest we have ever recorded. Tea Party movement also saw all-time high in neg rating” (Chuck Todd)
  • Looking for major policy initiatives coming out of the House GOP’s 3-day Virginia retreat? Look elsewhere. “Tentative plans are emerging from the meetings to couple repeated short-term increases of the debt ceiling with more modest demands on spending cuts.” In other words: permanent financial crises. (Roll Call)
  • The problem? The House GOP just don’t know what to do: “If Republicans are asked what they can reasonably expect to accomplish in the next six months, after a variety of fights with the president, they don't have an answer. What would constitute an achievable victory? They don't really know.” (Byron York)
  • And another key line from the same article: “For a party that just a few months ago hoped for big, big victories, Williamsburg is an exercise in painful reality.” (Byron York)
  • “So House GOP retreat was about not defaulting on the debt and not saying stupid things about rape. These should not need to be topics!” (Ezra Klein)
  • The “ouch!” line of the day: “As someone who just turned 59, I can make this next provocative statement: Democrats are doing better among voters who can be considered the future. Republicans are doing well among those who could be described as the pre-dead.” (Cook Report)

And in other news …

  • Campaign finance reform fans prepare to be disappointed: To sell his policies, President Obama is turning his campaign apparatus into a Crossroads GPS-like 501(c)4. (The Los Angeles Times)
  • However, unlike most other of these types of organizations, “we hear that the new Obama 501c4 outside group WILL DISCLOSE its donors, either monthly or quarterly.” (Mark Murray)
  • In perhaps the best news of the day, The Onion is releasing its Joe Biden autobiography today. (Dylan Byers)
  • About two-thirds of people believe in one or more conspiracy theories…or do they? (Political Wire)
  • And in honor of Monday’s presidential inauguration: The earliest known photograph of a presidential inauguration – James Buchanan, 1857. (Michael Beschloss)