GOP, Tea Party Come Out Hurt By Debt Ceiling Debate
The political implications of the debt ceiling debate will take some time to work out, and will in part be influenced by how the upcoming debate over the super committee and another round of budget cuts ends up going. Nonetheless, polling is starting to come out and, at least, initially, it looks like the GOP and the Tea Party have lost ground with the public as a result of their intransigence.
First, we’ve got a new CNN/Opinion Research Center poll that shows Republicans with their highest negative ratings among American adults since the Clinton Impeachment and the highest negative ratings for the Tea Party since the movement started:
The debt ceiling debate hurt Americans’ view of Republicans, bolstered their opinion of Democrats, and drove the tea party’s favorable ratings to a new low, a poll on Tuesday found.
Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the Republican Party, while 59 percent disapprove in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday. That’s a net negative 10-percentage-point shift from less than a month ago, when 41 percent of those surveyed by CNN said they had a favorable view of the GOP while 55 percent had an unfavorable one.
At the same time, Democrats’ numbers have improved slightly, with approval and disapproval each at 47 percent. In July, 45 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved, an net 4-point positive change.
The tea party movement fares slightly worse than the GOP and has its most dismal ratings since CNN began asking about the movement in polls in January 2010. Thirty-one percent said they see it favorably while 51 percent see it unfavorably. In July, those numbers were 37 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
Second, a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll shows the public souring on the Tea Party-affiliated Members of Congress, many of whom were the most intransigent toward a deal of any kind during the debt ceiling negotiations:
When the 112th Congress started in January, more Americans anticipated a positive rather than negative role for the newly elected members affiliated with the tea party political movement. Now, a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll finds public opinion tilted the other way.
In the new poll, 29 percent say congressional representatives associated with the tea party have had a “mostly negative” effect, 11 percentage points higher than the number expecting a negative impact at the beginning of the term. Now, 22 percent see a “mostly positive” effect, down five points.
Still, as anticipated in January, about half of all Americans say the tea party supporters in Congress have either had “not much of an effect” or expressed no opinion.
The see-saw in public opinion on tea party-affiliated members is particularly apparent among Democrats and independents. In January, 30 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of independents said tea party members would have a mostly negative effect; those numbers have jumped to 49 and 28 percent, respectively.
This isn’t entirely surprising given the polling we saw during the debate that seemed to indicate that the public was more interesting in compromise than principles that they might not necessarily agree with. I’d be interested to see these questions re-polled in the wake of the downgrade and this week’s market turmoil.