A new Washington Post/ABC News poll is getting a bit of a bounce this morning because it finds that a record high number of Americans disapprove of their own Member of Congress — reflecting, once again, just how poorly this Congress is viewed.
But the relative ratings of the Republican and Democratic parties are also noteworthy, particularly among key voter groups that GOP leaders have been hoping to improve their appeal among ever since the 2012 loss produced a round of soul searching about the party’s future. The toplines are that among registered voters, 38 percent view the GOP favorably, versus 60 percent who view it unfavorably; among Dems those numbers are 51-46.
Here’s a rundown among subgroups:
— Among women, the favorable/unfavorable numbers for the GOP are 33-62. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around, at 54-40.
— Among nonwhites, those numbers for the GOP are 25-70. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 68-26.
— Among Latinos, those numbers for the GOP are 29-65. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 61-33.
— Among adults aged 18-29, those numbers for the GOP are 31-61. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 51-35.
— Among moderates, those numbers for the GOP are 32-66. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 52-45.
One shouldn’t make too much of these numbers. The margin of error is large for subgroups. And they won’t matter in 2014, because of the makeup of the map. Indeed, the generic ballot matchup is close to tied, which isn’t good enough for Dems to overcome their midterm voter dropoff problem.
But such findings are worth keeping an eye on for 2016 and the long term. On immigration, for instance, the current maneuvering has essentially locked Republicans into a position to the right of Mitt Romney’s 2012 “self deportation” stance.
But it goes well beyond this. John Harwood details that on cultural issues in general, “the values wedge now cuts for Democrats.” Meanwhile, as Ron Brownstein has explained, one of the big stories of our political era is that Obama has staked out postures on many of these issues — contraception, gay rights, immigration, even climate change — with the goal of cementing the Democratic Party’s connection with these voter groups when it comes to their cultural priorities. The flip side of this, as Brownstein notes, is this: “Republicans are solidifying against these ideas.”
The question is to what degree these groups are solidifying against the Republican Party.
* OBAMACARE FADES AS POLITICAL ISSUE: Politico has a good piece tallying up all the evidence that the Affordable Care Act is losing its political impact, even in key battleground states where control of the Senate will be decided. Note this fun nugget on a new GOP poll designed to test messages against the law:
Some of the arguments that voters found most “persuasive” — that scads of people would be forced off of their health plans and into more expensive coverage, that Obamacare is a Washington takeover of health care and that it’s driving premiums through the roof and forcing businesses to cut worker hours — are contested by Democrats and murky at best.
In other words, the messages that do work are basically nonsense. Or, as Families USA’s Ron Pollack puts it: “It’s always easy to message anything when you’re not tethered to any sense of reality.” Really, no one could have predicted
* ANOTHER OBAMACARE DISASTER FAILS TO MATERIALIZE: Many Obamacare foes were certain, absolutely certain, that the ACA would cause premiums to skyrocket in 2015, because, well, the law just has to fail, it just has to! But Jonathan Cohn takes a look at the current incoming data, and while he concedes it’s somewhat preliminary, he concludes it just isn’t coming to pass.
As one expert tells Cohn: “This is a collective judgment that these markets are working, contradicting the Cassandras once again.” Or, to put it another way: Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
* A PRIMARY TO WATCH TODAY: In the latest test for the Tea Party, two longtime GOP establishment Senators — Pat Roberts of Kansas and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — face primaries, and both are expected to survive comfortably. Notably, Alexander has been under fire from major right wing figures for supporting comprehensive immigration reform, and in fact, he has asserted that the right solution to the current border crisis is the Senate bill.
If Alexander survives despite this heresy, it could be yet another sign that the notion that Republicans must avoid reform or suffer the wrath of the anti-“amnesty” brigade has long been overblown. (Yes, I know, Eric Cantor. But he didn’t support “amnesty.”)
* DEMS DODGE BULLET IN COLORADO: Legislators in the state have reached a deal to keep an anti-fracking measure off the ballot in November, a threat to the prospects of Senator Mark Udall, since it was splitting moderates and environmentalists. Udall, like other vulnerable Dems, has been getting pounded by Republicans as anti-energy, so this deal — which has been endorsed by energy companies — could make it marginally easier for him to hang on. Any single contest could end up deciding Senate control.
* SCOTT BROWN GRABS ON TO BORDER CRISIS: With his pickup truck stalled in a political ditch in New Hampshire, Scott Brown is now attempting to revive his campaign by attacking Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen for failing to support Republican efforts to “reverse President Obama’s illegal immigration policies” in response to the border debacle.
That would suggest “moderate” Scott Brown agrees with House Republicans who responded to the crisis by voting to deport all the DREAMers. But judging by his tendency to serve up policy word salad, he probably has no idea what he actually thinks on this issue.
* KOCH GROUP RUSHES TO MONICA WEHBY’S AIDE: Speaking of states (such as New Hampshire) where millions in Koch-aligned cash is going up in flames, the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners is set to pour millions into Oregon to rescue the campaign of Monica Wehby, who is running to unseat incumbent Dem Jeff Merkley, and has become “one of this cycle’s conservative stars.”
My favorite bit, on the Wehby campaign: “Their internal polls show Wehby down by only two, while other public polls show Wehby lagging by double digits.” Looks like those internal polls may have persuaded folks that matter that this race is seriously in play…
* AND PUBLIC DOESN’T WANT TO PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: A new Associated Press poll finds that six in 10 Americans agree that “the economic benefits of good highways, railroads and airports outweigh the cost to taxpayers.” At the same time, though, a majority (58 percent) oppose raising federal gas taxes to pay for their repair. I guess that means Congress, in refusing to raise the gas tax to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, is doing what the public wants.
One bright spot: Only 30 percent support shifting more responsibility for such infrastructure upkeep to state and local governments, an idea right-wing groups have made central to their crusade against the HTF, one of their latest obsessions.