GOP, Tea Party Hit New Lows In New Poll
Among the many tidbits in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is a new indication that the Republican Party’s days of public disfavor are far from over:
According to the poll, 49% hold a negative view of the Republican Party — its highest negative rating in the survey since 2008. (In fact, it’s been higher than 49% just once in the entire history of the NBC/WSJ poll.) Only 26% have a positive view of the GOP. By comparison, the Democratic Party has a net positive rating, with 44% holding a favorable view of the party and 38% holding an unfavorable one. And the conservative Tea Party movement, which took off in Obama’s first year as president, also finds its popularity at an all-time low in the poll, with an upside-down fav/unfav of 23%/47%. What’s more, just 14 percent of adults approve of Congress’ job (which is near the all-time low in the poll), while 81 percent disapprove (which is close to its all-time high). By the way, most of the recent negative movement for the GOP is among core Republicans. The GOP was already viewed very negatively by Democrats and indies; it couldn’t really get much worse with those two groups. So this latest shift for the GOP is due to the fact that a growing number of core Republicans were not happy with how the party handled the fiscal cliff.
A 49% negative rating. That means that nearly half of the country views the Republican Party negatively. Now, obviously, American politics is cyclical is likely to change at some point, but that’s not going to happen unless and until the GOP gets its act together. Part of that includes finally coming to recognize the fact that the party has been out of step with the nation for some time now. It started, in reality, during the Bush Administration and reached its height with absurdities such as Congressional interference in the Terry Schiavo matter. Since President Obama has been in office, it has taken the form of extreme partisanship and a belief that everything the President does must be opposed as if it were the onset of tyranny. The Republican Party’s Obama Derangement Syndrome is worse than Bush Derangement Syndrome ever was, and it has resulted in a situation where it’s essentially impossible to get the nation’s business done. This, of course, is the primary reason why many voters have soured on the GOP in recent years.
Of course, the reasons that Republicans are dismayed with their own party are different from the reasons that Independents and Democrats have a negative opinion of the party. For them, the Fiscal Cliff deal was a sign of surrender by the House and Senate GOP Leadership. For them, the no-surrender attitude of Tea Party zealots like Michele Bachmann is the exact strategy that the GOP should be following. In reality, of course, it’s that exact strategy that is largely responsible for the fact that the GOP as a whole is held in such low esteem, especially by Independent voters. If the Tea Party strategy is what the voters wanted, then Republicans would have done far better in the 2012 elections than they actually did.
The GOP is in a rather difficult position right now. If they listen to their base, the party is likely to be pulled in a direction that further isolates it from the voting public as a whole. However, the more they try to move the party in a direction that will appeal to a wider variety of voters the more likely they are to stir up the passions of their base and thus result in primary challenges that end up pushing the party further to the right. It’s a perfectly vicious little circle, but the GOP will have to find a way to fix it otherwise this spiral that they are in is just going to continue.