With most pundits predicting that voters will hand the Democrats their heads in this fall’s midterm elections, you’d think Republicans would be basking in the glow of public affection. Not so says a recent poll by Public Policy Polling. Only 28% of respondents view the current direction of the Republicans favorably, while 51% disapprove. Only 54% of registered Republicans approve of the current direction of their own party, and among Independents, just 18%.
Individual Republicans fare no better. Only 10% view Michael Steele favorably, and he is viewed unfavorably by a plurality in his own party. Opinions of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are better than Steele’s, but still hover around a 25% favorability rating.
Meanwhile, Pew Research brings into question whether most Americans know what they’re talking about when it comes to voicing political opinions. In its most recent national test involving 12 questions about current events, the average score was just over 5 correct answers, roughly a 44% grade…an F- where I went to school. And the questions aren’t hard: rough unemployment percentage (5%, 10% or 20%), rough estimate of the Dow (5000, 10,000 or 20,000), majority leader of the Senate, Chairman of the RNC, etc. Check it out at the link (above) and take the test.
American voters, uninformed though they may be, don’t like anybody in Washington. The “pox on both thy houses” syndrome has taken over the public psyche. This year, angry and disappointed in politicians’ inability to solve problems, they will probably punish the in-power Democrats most. But if it happens, don’t fool yourself into thinking it can be read as a Republican mandate. Voters will not be endorsing the policies of one party over the other, just showing which of two objects of anger they choose to hold most accountable.
And, if you’re right of center, don’t count your chickens just yet. The election is still six months off. If the Public Policy poll is accurate, or even close, those currently disgruntled members of the public are not yet locked in to voting Republican.
With only 28% approval for what the Republicans are offering, their support is very soft, and there is considerable time and opportunity for election results to change. While Democratic losses are likely in the upcoming mid terms, the extent of those losses may well depend on whether Republicans can transform soft support into hard support and whether Democrats can burnish their image or tar the Republican image further between now and November.
Cross posted at Elijah’s Sweete Spot where COMMENTS/DISCUSSION (and sharing your scores on the Pew test) are Disqus(tm) enabled.