The Washington Post

The Republicans’ worst poll yet

Tough times for John Boehner. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Tough times for John Boehner. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The latest NBC/WSJ poll is just a disaster for the GOP. The highlights:

- By a 22-point margin, the public thinks the Republican Party is more to blame for the shutdown than President Obama. NBC's Mark Murray notes that that's "a wider margin of blame for the GOP than the party received during the poll during the last shutdown in 1995-96."

- Like Gallup, this poll shows the Republican Party at record levels of unpopularity. Only 24 percent have a favorable opinion of the GOP, and only 21 percent have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Both are "all-time lows in the history of the poll."

- The Democratic party, by contrast, has a 39 percent favorability rating. That's pretty much unchanged from recent months, and is in fact the precise same favorability number Democrats posted in May.

- Last month, voters preferred a Democratic Congress to a Republican Congress by three points. This month, it's up to eight points.

- Obama's approval rating has nudged up by two percent. This is a similar finding to the Washington Post/ABC News poll, which found Obama's numbers slightly improved even as the GOP plummeted.

- The bad news for Obama is that 51 percent think he's putting his political agenda ahead of the good of the country. The good news for Democrats is that 70 percent think the same of the GOP.

- Despite the awful launch, Obamacare is becoming more popular. Last month, 31 percent said it was a good idea and 44 percent said it was a bad idea. This month, 38 percent think it's a good idea and 43 percent think it's a bad idea.

- Most people don't know enough about Sen. Ted Cruz to register an opinion. But among those who do, Cruz fares poorly: 28 percent have as negative opinion and only 14 percent have a positive opinion.

- 63 percent think it'd be a huge problem for the government to not raise the debt ceiling. But by a four percent margin, the public is more concerned that increased spending will drive us deeper into debt than that the debt ceiling won't be raised.

- The best news for the Republicans is that by a 43-40 margin, the public thinks Obama should negotiate even before the government is reopened and the debt ceiling is lifted.

- 73 percent of the country thinks the government shutdown is "very serious" or "quite serious". Only 9 percent think it's "not that serious." In 1995, only 57 percent thought the shutdown was "very" or "quite" serous, while 18 percent thought it was "not that serious."

- 14 percent of the public thinks we're on the right track as a country. 78 percent say we're on the wrong track. That might be because they're highly pessimistic about the trajectory of the economy: 42 percent think it will get worse and 17 percent think it will get better.





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Ezra Klein · October 10, 2013

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