Republicans More Trusted than Democrats

Mary Katharine Hamm and AllahPundit pass along a stunning poll result from Rasmussen Reports:

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on six out of 10 key issues, including the top issue of the economy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% now trust the GOP more to handle economic issues, while 39% trust Democrats more.

This is the first time in over two years of polling that the GOP has held the advantage on this issue.

Wowsers (MK’s reax via Twitter), indeed.

Now, I’m not going to get too excited about this until we see it replicated over time and across polling instruments.  Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the results of any given poll can be junk. (It’s more complicated than that but, essentially, the probability that any given poll is completely off the charts is around 5 percent. It has to do with confidence intervals and math that only Nate Silver understands.)

Still, this result isn’t fantastically unbelievable.  Yes, Bush and the Republicans made a lot of mistakes.  But the Dems have had the Congress now for more than two years and the White House for several months.  At some point, regardless of what they’ve inherited, they own this thing.

Further, Obama, Pelosi, Geithner, and company have not exactly covered themselves in glory.  The various bailout packages are looking like the fiascos many of us predicted they’d be.  And performance is, in many cases, less than the worst-case scenarios Obama’s team put out.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Public Opinion Polls
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    FWIW, Rasmussen tends to have results that are out of sync with the other major polls in a Republican direction. had a post on that not too long ago.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Yeah, I was going to note that but this is an outlier even for Rasmussen since two straight years of their polls had the numbers in the other direction.

  3. odograph says:

    Most people probably can’t see the missing counterfactual.

    Sure, politicians can “own” a bad situation, and perhaps sadly this is even reinforced when no one agrees on what the alternate path was, or how it would have worked out.

    (On a number of things that have come up for me today the theme has been that Nassim Taleb was really pretty a smart guy, and that we aren’t always keeping in mind what we don’t, actually, know.)

  4. mpw280 says:

    Could it be that in spite of the great cover-up job the press has done for the Dem’s, that people are finally seeing that having O/P/R in charge is a disaster of epic proportions? Nah, just blame the pollster those numbers can’t exist in reality can they. mpw

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I suspect it’s just noise.

    Nate Silver says “Rasmussen’s polls have a slight, Republican-leaning house effect. But it’s small — less than one percentage point.” LINK

  6. just me says:

    I think even if it is an outlier, it would still indicate movement. I do notice thought that a lot of the numbers are close to what is typically the margin of error.

    But it is hardly surprising, generally Obama and the democrats were going to be able to run on the “we inherited this” excuse for only so long. At some point patience runs out and the excuse won’t hold and the mess is dumped into the democrat laps.

    So it kind of makes sense that the numbers would change-especially since the GOP isn’t even close to having any power, they are way out of power and the democrats control and own the agenda.

  7. sam says:

    I’m understunned by a Rasmussen poll.

  8. Derrick says:

    You mean the same Rasmussen that had Obama’s approval at 56% in March, with a brilliant OPed column in the WSJ that he was going to keep falling. Sorry I’ll pay attention when someone reputable shows similar results.

  9. Tano says:

    “It’s more complicated than that but, essentially, the probability that any given poll is completely off the charts is around 5 percent.”

    That assumes an unbiased sample.
    If there are problems with the sampling methodology – and yeah, this is Rasmussen – then the probability of being off the charts can rise to 100%.

    Rasmussen has become the house organ of the GOP/conservative movement – regularly delivering feel-good numbers that are 5-8 pts to the right of the consensus of reputable polls. They clean up their act on cue whenever an election looms so that when they face their only real test – comparing their numbers against an election, they do ok. But you can look over time and see them converge on the consensus as the election nears.
    Pure hacks.

  10. PD Shaw says:

    Does everybody here think that Nate Silver is a right-wing hack?

  11. Tano says:

    Whats that supposed to mean?
    Nate reported Rasmussen’s performance against the only objective standard available – actual elections. And, as I pointed out, Rasmussen converges on the consensus as elections near and so comes out ok on election day.

    How would that make Nate a RW hack????

  12. Franklin says:

    Nate himself leans liberal, and says so, but I have yet to see bias when he is talking numbers.

    Regarding the poll, it’s fine by me if it gets more Republicans in Congress in 2010. Simplified opinion: I like Obama for various reasons but I could do without Pelosi and Reid rubberstamping all the spending proposals.

    Milton Friedman recognized long ago that the best combination appeared to be a Democratic President with a Republican Congress for fiscal policy.

  13. Steve Plunk says:

    Why does anyone trust either party? Based upon performance they both need some time in the woodshed. The fact they are politicians first and people’s representatives second means we should never completely trust them.

  14. Eric Florack says:

    Why does anyone trust either party?

    Because that wasn’t the question. It was, of the two which is trusted more?

    Example: I’m questioned which keyboard I like better. Now, that they’re both peices of crap doesn’t alter the fact that of the two, I like the black one with the USB ports on the side, better.

    Regarding the poll, it’s fine by me if it gets more Republicans in Congress in 2010.

    After the performance of the Democrats, I don’t think there’s any doubt that will happen.

    Tano; You know, not everyone that comes up with results you don’t like is a GOP stooge.

  15. I don’t trust either party when it comes to the economy. I trust the people of the United States to do what is best for themselves. Unless “None of the above” is allowed the question is bogus. Set up a false dichotomy and then try to draw conclusions from a false premise? Please. All you can conclude from a question like this is analogous to saying I’d rather be burgled than beaten and robbed.

  16. Eric Florack says:

    Well, look; the polling however accurate or inaccurate it may be, does seem to be online with the general tenor of elections we’ve seen the last few weeks. Take for example the one out in California.

    I’ve already commented there’s a great deal of anger at the left out there… more than I think most peploe are ready to admit.

    A larger perspective would include the recent elections across Europe, where the left there got handed it’s collectivist ass.

    But I don’t think this can be considered a victory for the right, yet. The only factoid to be drawn from these elections and this polling, really, is that people around the world are unified on one point; They don’t want the left running things.

    The exact degree to which this defeat for the left becomes a victory for the right, is hard-connected how much the right seperates itself from the policies espoused by the left. For the American Republican party, that means moving away from trying to be ‘liberal lite”.

    Of course I’ve made that point before, too.