One of my favorite people, John Anazalone, sent me a copy of a recent report from a survey done by his company that is most interesting and in my opinion quite accurate. John is recognized as being one of the best in his field. As usual, he is on target in his report. With his permission, I am including parts of the report below.
Almost half of Americans (48 percent) think the budget dispute has “seriously damaged” the economy, resulting in one of the most negative outlooks on the country’s direction in recent history. According to a recent Pew Research poll, only 14 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going, while 81 percent say they are dissatisfied. The only time in the last two decades that Pew recorded lower satisfaction was in October 2008, during the height of the financial crisis.
Views on the economy are also increasingly negative. Almost half of Americans (48 percent) rate economic conditions as poor, up 16 percent from last month. And Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index fell 12 points in the first week of the shutdown, the largest weekly decline since Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008.
Broad opposition to Republican negotiation tactics
Americans overwhelmingly disapproved of the partial government shutdown – 81 percent disapproved while only 17 percent approved. And most do not support the stand House Republicans took to cause the shutdown. A National Journal poll finds that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, the public opposed tying the funding of the federal government to the future of the Affordable Care Act. Overall, 65 percent of adults thought “Congress should provide the funding to keep the government operating and deal with the health care issue separately” versus just 24 percent who believed the House “is right to fund the continuing operations of the federal government only if Obama agrees to delay or withdraw his health care plan.” Even a majority of Republicans (50 percent) believed that the issues should be kept separate.
Similarly, by a 2-to-1 margin or more, Americans thought an increase in the federal debt ceiling should be dealt with separately from agreements on a variety of other proposals, including a one-year delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, cuts in spending for either discretionary or entitlement programs, and an authorization for the construction of the Keystone pipeline.
Record level of anti-incumbent sentiment
Americans’ frustration with the shutdown has translated into record-high anti-incumbent sentiment. Almost three-quarters of registered voters (74 percent) believe that most members of Congress should not be reelected in 2014, while only 18 percent believe they should. In comparison, merely a month before the wave 2010 election, just half of voters thought most members of Congress should not be reelected.
When asked specifically about their own representative in Congress – a measure that historically has been more positive – 66 percent of adults in the ABC News/Washington Post poll said they were “inclined to look around for someone else to vote for,” while only 24 percent said they were inclined to reelect their own member. This is the highest level of openness to a new representative in Congress in over two decades.
Republicans take the brunt of the damage
While no one looks particularly good in the aftermath of the shutdown, Republicans have fared the worst. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 77 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress were handling negotiations over the federal budget, while 61 percent disapproved of the way Democrats were handling negotiations. President Obama received less criticism, but a majority of Americans (54 percent) still disapproved of his handling.
A majority (53 percent) of Americans place more blame for the shutdown on Republicans in Congress in both an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and an ABC/Washington Post poll, while less than a third (31 percent and 29 percent respectively) place more blame on President Obama.
The dichotomy voters see between President Obama and Republicans in Congress is evident in views on their motivation. While 50 percent of registered voters believe Obama is “interested in doing what’s best for the country (47 percent believe he is “interested in doing what’s best for himself politically”), just 19 percent believe Republicans in Congress are interested in doing what’s best and 78 percent believe they are looking out for themselves politically.
Amidst the public’s disapproval of recent GOP tactics, Gallup finds Americans’ view of the Republican Party has sunk to an all-time low. While 43 percent of Americans view the Democratic Party favorably, only 28 percent of Americans now view the Republican Party favorably – a 10 percent drop from last month, and the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup started asking the question in 1992.
Much of this drop in support is driven by internal angst in the Republican Party. A majority of self-identified Republicans (58 percent) disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled budget negotiations. And now more than a quarter (27 percent) of self-identified Republicans view their own party unfavorably – an eight percent increase from last month, and more than double the percent of Democrats who see their own party unfavorably (13 percent).
Growing Tea Party divide emerges
Americans’ views on the Tea Party have also greatly soured, according to a recent Pew Research poll. Now nearly half of Americans (49 percent) view the Tea Party unfavorably, while just 30 percent view it favorably. Moderate Republicans in particular have turned increasingly against the Tea Party – in just the last four months, Tea Party favorability among these Republicans has dropped from 46 percent to 27 percent.
The Pew survey also finds a wide divide between Republicans who agree with the Tea Party movement, and those who do not. Tea Party Republicans are more likely to be older, male, and have higher levels of income and education than non-Tea Party Republicans. And they are more likely to take the hardline conservative approach on a range of issues including maintaining a smaller government, opposing marriage equality and abortion rights, and protecting gun rights.
Tea Party Republicans also take a hard line when it comes to compromise in Congress. By a 36-point margin, Tea Party Republicans say Congressional Republicans “have compromised too much” with Congressional Democrats, rather than not enough. In contrast, by an 18-point margin, non-Tea Party Republicans believe Congressional Republicans “have not compromised enough.” And by a 42-point margin, Tea Party Republicans want Republican leaders to move in a “more conservative” direction, rather than a more moderate one. Meanwhile non-Tea Party Republicans want Republican leaders to become more moderate by a 5-point margin. This is best symbolized in these two groups’ views of Ted Cruz – who is viewed favorably by 74 percent of
Tea Party Republicans and only 25 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans.
Tea Party supporters, however, don’t see themselves as going against the grain. A CBS News poll finds that while only 28 percent of Americans overall see the Tea Party as reflective of the views of most Americans, two-thirds (67 percent) of Tea Party supporters believe that it is.
A look ahead to 2014
Three different public polls conducted since the end of the shutdown have found Democrats with an eight-point advantage among registered voters on the generic Congressional ballot. Furthermore, the percent of Americans who identify with the Republican Party is at a record low, with only 20 percent considering themselves Republican. And for the first time since Republicans took control of the House in 2010, a majority of Americans (54 percent) think it is “bad for the country that the Republican Party is in control of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Hopefully, the American people will demand a better performance in our Nation’s capitol. If we continue on the present course – with the Tea Party zealots calling far too many shots – I fear that things will get much worse. I believe that most folks badly want to see more cooperation between the two political parties and without delay. A bi-partisan approach to problem-solving is not much to ask from the folks we elect and send to Washington.
Source: Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (ALG)
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