Poll Numbers On Shutdown Just Getting Worse For The GOP

Elephants Fighting

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that the GOP is continuing to be punished badly, and to a far greater degree than other Washington players, in connection with the ongoing shutdown/debt ceiling standoff:

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the budget (74 percent), up from 63 percent since the start of the shutdown after hitting 70 percent last week. Disapproval of congressional Democrats has also risen by a smaller amount — 56 to 61 percent — since the shutdown began, owing in large part to greater approval among fellow Democrats.

Political independents are the most frustrated: 58 percent of independents disapprove of Obama, 68 percent are unhappy with congressional Democrats and 76 percent disapprove of congressional Republicans.

President Obama and Democrats fare better, but are both clearly negative. After a brief uptick last week, Obama’s ratings for handling budget negotiations are once again clearly negative, with 42 percent now approving and 53 percent disapproving. Obama now stands essentially where he did two weeks ago, when 41 percent approved and 50 percent disapproved of his handling of budget talks.

This chart tells the tale:

ABCWaPo GOP

Perhaps even more troubling for the GOP is the fact that the ongoing crisis is unveiling sharp divides within the party itself that, potentially do not bode well going forward:

Republicans are suffering from a continued weakness among fellow partisans, with 49 percent of self-identified Republicans approving and 47 percent disapproving of the job their party’s members of Congress are doing. Democrats are far less mutinous. Over six in 10 Democrats approve of the job their members are doing, and over seven in 10 Democrats approve of Obama.

Even among Republicans who approve of their leaders, intensity is lacking. Just 27 percent of Republicans “strongly approve” of Republicans in Congress’ handling of budget negotiations. That compares with 48 percent strong approval of Obama among Democrats.

An ideological split within the GOP accounts for the soft ratings for Republicans among their own party members. Some 63 percent of Republicans who describe themselves as “very conservative” approve of their members of Congress, using two weeks of combined polls. But approval falls below half among Republicans who are just “somewhat conservative,” with 48 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving.

Assuming we get out of this utter mess with a deal that makes nobody happy, which is both the historical norm and likely the only thing that could pass at this late hour, the GOP’s next task is going to be finding a way to heal the divisions that the last month has laid bare between the Tea Party, GOP “moderates,” and those conservatives who recognize the difference between rhetoric and reality. These numbers suggest that it won’t be easy at all.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    But, but, but… the parks!

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I’m going to have to withhold judgment until Ted Cruz unskews those numbers. And if he doesn’t get it done I’m sure JKB will be along to spread a fine new layer of manure.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    The GOP problems date back to Nixon and Lee Atwater. This is what happens when you build a base that consists of the lowest common denominator in American society – ignorant and superstitious bigots. It worked for a few decades but the inevitable demographic changes were bound to catch up with it. People kicking and screaming at the prospect of actually joining the 21st century.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    Someday, hopefully not in the near future (or even the distant future), a Republican may occupy the White House with a split Congress, and they have to hope that their bad behavior does not become the new normal for opposition politics.

    The GOP has upped the ante at every turn in the past 20 years. Someday Democrats will stop being doormats.

  5. Tony W says:

    To paraphrase the old SNL skit – Republicans are the 1970’s AT&T of politics – they don’t care because they don’t have to.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    ParkGHaziiiii!!!!!!

  7. Vast Variety says:

    I wonder what it would take for the Moderate Republicans to simply push out the Tea Party. Either that or form their own party.

  8. PJ says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Someday, hopefully not in the near future (or even the distant future), a Republican may occupy the White House with a split Congress, and they have to hope that their bad behavior does not become the new normal for opposition politics.

    Q: What happened the last time in 1921?
    A: The GOP winning a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

  9. James Joyner says:

    I fear that the reason Congressional Republicans are growing more unpopular with rank-and-file Republicans is not because they’ve shut down the government but because they’re not winning. The base is unhappy, not because they’ve gone too far but because they haven’t gone far enough.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @James Joyner:

    I fear that the reason Congressional Republicans are growing more unpopular with rank-and-file Republicans is not because they’ve shut down the government but because they’re not winning. The base is unhappy, not because they’ve gone too far but because they haven’t gone far enough.

    Dead on, James

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Vast Variety: My worst fear is that the “moderate” Republicans, i.e. the corporate elite, will jump to the Democrats. This will eventually leave us with a nut-case right Republican party and a center right Democratic party. And with Doug and James on the horns of a dilemma.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    “…The base is unhappy, not because they’ve gone too far but because they haven’t gone far enough…”

    Well…that….and the Parks.

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    @James Joyner: James, that makes it even more depressing.

  14. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    I fear that the reason Congressional Republicans are growing more unpopular with rank-and-file Republicans is not because they’ve shut down the government but because they’re not winning.

    That is an extremely pessimistic statement.

    We know there is a split between the Teas and the moderates (more or less), but if the rank and file are Teas … the party is doomed. It is the Tea Party from here on out.

    Get out now, while it is only too late, and not ridiculous.

  15. john personna says:

    ThinkProgress points to a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner analysis (pdf) which says that only 25% of Republicans are Teas.

    That pdf is worth checking out. Interesting bits on the break down of independents as well. Despite being a lifelong Republican, I seem to be an “independent leans-dem” these days.

  16. @James Joyner:

    Not an unfair point. But, that just leads to the fact that there are a whole host of Congressional (and Senate) Republicans, along with the talk radio/Tea Party/Freedomworks crowd that essentially led people down this path with the misrepresentation that their plan ever had a rational chance of succeeding.

  17. Grumpy Realist says:

    James, what would it take for you to switch parties?

    Until the Republicans are punished for their intransigence and lack of reality, they will continue to move towards more fanaticism.

    After all, “it can’t happen here…”

  18. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    … that essentially led people down this path with the misrepresentation that their plan ever had a rational chance of succeeding.

    I think you made a key error, or perhaps did a little wishful thinking.

    The really striking thing is that this plan never needed “a rational chance of succeeding.”

    The right wing media never made a reasoned case that it would.

    From the start they made an irrational case, and that is what sold in this sub-culture.

    1. Shutdown The Government
    2. ?
    3. No more Obamacare!

    Now amusingly we’ve been adding some steps, but not resolving the missing one.

    1. Shutdown The Government.
    2. Protest the Monuments.
    3. Crash in National Polling.
    4. ?
    5. No more Obamacare!

  19. Woody says:

    @john personna:

    No. 4 is obviously the fabled Rebranding the Party, which every courtier in DC media tells me is going to rescue the GOP.

    No. 6 is undoubtably The Real Republican Health Care Plan that is Mathematically Possible.

  20. Kylopod says:

    I wonder what it would take for the Moderate Republicans to simply push out the Tea Party.

    In this case, I think you should have done what Doug did, which is put the word “moderate” in quotes.

    No one’s seen a Rockefeller Republican since sometime around the Triassic, but even as late as a decade ago there were a few actual moderate Republicans hanging around (Colin Powell, Arlen Specter). By the end of the aughts, moderate Republican had come to mean “right-wing conservative who doesn’t spend every waking moment hating Barack Obama” (see Huntsman, Jon and Christie, Chris). In the last few months, it has acquired yet a new meaning: those who think threatening to destroy the U.S. government in a futile attempt to get one’s way is not the smartest method of attacking Obama’s entire agenda.

    More and more, the GOP reminds me of that old Onion article about the “Iraqi Gandhi” who criticizes the 9/11 hijackers for having destroyed both towers.

  21. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: @Grumpy Realist: I’m afraid that the Fox News-ification of the Republican base is a large part of the problem. They don’t get unfiltered news anymore, so get a very skewed set of facts.

    I keep hoping that the adult leadership will get the ship righted. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are making a pretty solid effort in that direction, at least in terms of this crisis. We’ll see how it goes.

  22. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: When I see numbers like ‘6 in 10 Democrats support Obama’ I am reminded that there is no hard and permanent definition of a Democrat or Republican.

    Point is – I wonder how many newly minted Democrats have been created out of this mess who now poll on the other side.

    I suppose it’s also possible that we could have brand-new Republicans as a result of these hijinks, but that happening would raise the collective IQ of both parties.

  23. Nick says:

    I’m afraid that the Fox News-ification of the Republican base is a large part of the problem. They don’t get unfiltered news anymore, so get a very skewed set of facts.

    I keep hoping that the adult leadership will get the ship righted. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are making a pretty solid effort in that direction, at least in terms of this crisis. We’ll see how it goes.

    Whiplash. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner provide Fox News their talking points. The Fox News audience are the voters who got them elected. When has there ever been an adversarial relationship between GOP leadership and Fox News?

  24. aFloridian says:

    This crisis has made me question my Republican identity, more than I already have. But as someone who recently relocated to a solidly Democratic district, I realize I’m probably more conservative than I thought, and probably not welcome in the Democratic party. Look what happened to the Blue Dogs.