President Trump (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Opinion writer

The GOP has a bunch of problems, including these: Its signature bill is a dud, it is shedding voters and it is led by someone who, in the midst of a cultural revolution regarding sexual assault, is widely believed to be a serial sexual predator.

USA Today reports:

A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds just 32% support the GOP tax plan; 48% oppose it. That’s the lowest level of public support for any major piece of legislation enacted in the past three decades, including the Affordable Care Act …

Americans are skeptical of the fundamental arguments Republicans have made in selling the bill: A 53% majority of those surveyed predict their own families won’t pay lower taxes as a result of the measure, and an equal 53% say it won’t help the economy in a major way. … Overall, only 35% believe that the bill will boost the economy, and 31% that their own families’ tax bills will be lowered as a result. Nearly two-thirds, 64%, say the wealthy will get the most benefits; just 17% say the middle-class will.

Republicans, however, remain enthusiastic about the bill, supporting it by a wide margin, 71 percent to 12 percent.

The poll also shows that while sentiment about the economy is very positive (56 percent), voters’ opinion of President Trump continues to deteriorate. (“Trump now has a favorable-unfavorable rating of 34%-58%, a net negative of 24 percentage points. His standing has worsened through the year, from a net negative of just 2 points in March and 15 points in June.”) The Republican Party as a whole has a dreadful favorable-unfavorable rating of 24 percent/61 percent; almost as bad as Congress overall (17 percent favorable to 64 percent unfavorable). Democrats do somewhat better (36 percent to 47 percent).

Trump has managed to intensify support within his narrow base but is alienating more and more voters away from the GOP. That’s one reason support for him, whatever the topic, remains so strong among Republicans — he’s chasing all but the Trump cultists away. Gallup finds that Democratic affiliation has remained steady at 44 percent since November 2016. Under Trump, however, GOP affiliation has dropped, from 42 percent to 37 percent. This is all the more remarkable given that the GOP controls both houses and the White House. Looking at the numbers, you’d think the party had lost, not won it all, in 2016. (“Republicans have had worse showings than their current 37% in Gallup’s tracking trend, which began in January 2008. In December 2008, shortly after voters elected Barack Obama to replace George W. Bush as president in the midst of the Great Recession, only 34% of U.S. adults identified as Republicans or leaned Republican. In that month, 53% of adults were Democratic identifiers or leaners, tied for the highest in Gallup’s tracking trend.”)

It seems winning isn’t everything for a statistically significant percent of Republicans. If not yet willing to identify as Democrats, the contingent of NeverTrumpers (or GivingUpTrumpers) has the potential to shift the political landscape. The tsunami of sexual assault allegations may further erode support for the GOP, especially among women. The GOP remains saddled with Trump and, depending on the results in Alabama tomorrow, possibly with Roy Moore as well.

The pattern of denial and smearing of accusers we now hear from Trump and the Fox News sycophants is not likely to sit well with Americans. A recent academic study undertaken by Murat Haner of the University of South Florida-Sarasota Manatee, and Teresa C. Kulig and Francis T. Cullen of the University of Cincinnati, conducted by YouGov America from Oct. 7 to Oct. 24 found:

Half of Americans (51.0%) believe that “the women are telling the truth when they reported that Mr. Trump sexually harassed or assaulted them.” By contrast, less than one-fourth (23.1%) believe that the president was “telling the truth” when he denied any wrongdoing. Nearly two-thirds (64.9%) state that it was unlikely or highly unlikely that all the women were lying. . . .

More than 6 in 10 Americans (62.9%) believe that the women did not report the incidents because “they are afraid” of “powerful men, like Mr. Trump,” and believe that “nothing will be done.”

With regard to the “Access Hollywood” tape, 57.6 percent believe that “Mr. Trump was admitting that he sexually assaulted women.” The kicker: 60.5 percent believe that “if the accusations can be proven, President Trump should be impeached by the U.S. Congress.”

In sum, the GOP’s tax bill is a dud, it is shedding support and it is led by a man whom most Americans believe assaulted women and, if the allegations can be proved, should be impeached for it. And all this comes before the possible election of Moore to the Senate.

UPDATE: Since we first reported on the findings, the authors of the study referenced above provided new, weighted percentages, which are now included.

Read more by Jennifer Rubin:

Can’t Republicans at least pretend they’re appalled by Roy Moore?

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