battle for public opinion
President Obama speaks at his news conference on Tuesday at the White House. Click image to enlarge.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY is losing the gargantuan battle it has deliberately sought over the federal government budget, according to public opinion polls and other indicators.
The multiple crises it has created through its intransigence and inability (or unwillingness) to run the government is taking its toll.
And signs are mounting every day that at least some within the party are realizing the self-inflicted damage being wrought by the showdown, although others continue their self-delusion that all is well.
The president and Democrats in Congress are reading the polls, too, and perhaps that’s why they continue to stand firm in refusing to negotiate with a gun pointed at their heads.
MULTIPLE POLLS IN recent days show that not only does a majority of the public blame the Republicans for the impasse, but that majority is increasing.
The Washington Post story published Monday was the most conclusive evidence.
In Republican disapproval grows in budget battle, Post-ABC poll finds Scott Clement and Peyton M. Craighill report:
The Washington Post poll on Monday is clear evidence of who is winning the debate. Click image to enlarge.
“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.”
A week ago, CBS news reported some convincing results in Nearly 9 in 10 Americans displeased with Washington, poll says.
Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus reported Oct. 3:
“As the partial federal government shutdown continues with no break in the impasse between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, nearly nine in 10 Americans are unhappy with the way things are going in Washington, including 43 percent who are angry – up 13 points since March and the highest since CBS News began asking the question in 2010. (emphasis added)
“Republicans in Congress receive more of the blame for the shutdown: 44 percent of Americans blame them, while 35 percent put more blame on President Obama and the Democrats in Congress.”
The results were even more pronounced in a tally released Monday and widely reported.
IN ITS POLL, the Pew Research Center found Partisans Dug in on Budget, Health Care Impasse.
The survey was conducted Oct. 3-6, during the first week of the federal government shutdown.
NBC News does not mince its words in the headline to its story on public opinion. Click image to enlarge.
“[T]here is broad public support for a compromise on the government shutdown,” Pew reports. “Fully 61 percent say lawmakers who share their views about the government shutdown should be willing to make compromises, even if it results in a deal they disagree with.
“[J]ust 29 percent say lawmakers who share their views should stand by their principles, even if that means the shutdown lasts longer.”
The survey also finds that “Republicans are taking more blame for the shutdown than the Obama administration, but only by a slim margin.
“By 38 percent to 30 percent, more say that Republicans are to blame for the government shutdown than the Obama administration,” Pew says.
Note the difference between the CBS poll the previous week and the newer Pew one: significantly fewer people are blaming the president (35 percent during the first shutdown week versus 30 percent in Pew).
As the standoff continues, it seems fewer are blaming the president, though the real test is yet to come when the debt ceiling is reached and the government is unable to pay its bills.
NBC interpreted the Pew poll even more strongly.
In its story Polls: Public places more blame for shutdown on GOP Michael O’Brien began his report with:
“As the federal government’s shutdown nears its second week, a pair of new polls … suggests the fiscal standoff has begun to weigh on the Republican Party.”
“Thirty-eight percent of Americans said Republicans were to blame for the shutdown,” NBC reported, “versus 30 percent who blame the Obama administration and 19 percent who blame both.”
MEANWHILE, another indicator gives a different perspective.
The large and respected Gallup organization found a staggering drop in confidence in the economy in Weekly Drop in U.S. Economic Confidence Largest Since ’08.
The sub headline was: “Decline of 12 points to -34 is largest since Lehman Brothers collapsed”
The Gallup results on the drop economic confidence are alarming. Click image to enlarge.
“Americans’ confidence in the economy has deteriorated more in the past week during the partial government shutdown than in any week since Lehman Brothers collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008, which triggered a global economic crisis,” Alyssa Brown reported.
“Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index tumbled 12 points to -34 last week, the second-largest weekly decline since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in January 2008.”
None of these polls is an outlier.
They are all pointing in the same direction: as the government shutdown drags on, and the debt-ceiling deadline looms, more and more people are blaming the Republicans than anyone else.
The GOP and its supporters must be willfully blind if they cannot see this. They are dragging the country to the brink of disaster, and getting the blame for it.
If they think this is the way to win the next election, they are beyond delusional. They are dangerously insane.
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