Republican disapproval grows in budget battle, Post-ABC poll finds

October 7, 2013

Disapproval of congressional Republicans' budget wrangling after a weeklong shutdown has shot up to 70 percent, with 51 percent disapproving "strongly," according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

At the same time, President Obama's approval rating has ticked up due to improved marks among moderate Democrats and independents. No group, however, earns positive marks for their handling of budget negotiations overall.


Some 45 percent approve of Obama's handling of budget negotiations, up slightly from 41 percent last week. A still larger 51 percent disapproves of Obama, with 39 percent of the public disapproving strongly. Obama's fellow Democrats have not been as resilient. Fully 61 percent of Americans now disapprove of congressional Democrats (up from 56 percent last week),  with strong disapproval rising nine points (to 45 percent).

Republicans in Congress are worse off still. A Post-ABC poll last week found 63 percent disapproving of Republicans, a number that has grown to 70 percent in the past week. Strong disapproval has grown from 42 to 51 percent over the same period.

The poll finds Democrats and Republicans have become convinced that the opposite party is in the wrong on budget negotiations, but are far less united in support of their own leaders. Just 52 percent of Republicans, for instance, approve of how Republicans in Congress are handling budget negotiations. Fully 89 percent of Republicans disapprove of Obama, with 74 percent disapproving strongly. An identical 89 percent of Democrats disapprove of Republicans

The wide unpopularity of Republicans in Congress in budget talks is in large part due to a schism within Republicans themselves. By 59 to 39 percent, conservative Republicans approve of the way their party's members of congress have handled budget negotiations in combined interviews over two weeks. But Republicans who identify as moderate or liberal split narrowly: 44 percent approval to 49 percent disapproval.

This ideological split within the Republican party comes into sharper focus when looking at the most conservative party members. Republicans who describe themselves as "very conservative" approve of Republicans in Congress by 68 to 32 percent. Those who are just "somewhat conservative" split 51 to 45 percent in two weeks of combined poll results.

By contrast, Obama wins wider approval from his fellow partisans that spans Democrats' ideological wings. Fully 77 percent of Democrats approve of Obama's handling of budget negotiations, including 84 percent of liberals within the party. Among moderate and conservative Democrats, three quarters approve of Obama, up 11 points from last week.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted October 2 to 6, 2013 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults reached on conventional and cellular phones. The overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Chris Cillizza | October 7, 2013