There’s a double whammy in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll: voters approval of their incumbent House representative is at an all time low — and the public is increasingly uncharmed by the Tea Party movement.
The bottom line of this poll would suggest that Republicans hoping to capitalize on voter ire now face a more complicated situation: more than ever, they need Tea Party support but more than ever Democrats may be able to use the Tea Party movement and candidates tied to it to try and peel off some voters who are disgruntled but don’t like Tea Partiers.
And the GOP in general faces a problem: voters may feel the Democrats increasingly smell but they feel Republicans smell worse.
As voters head to the polls Tuesday for a crucial set of primary elections, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds antipathy toward their elected officials rising and anti-incumbent sentiment at an all-time high.
The national survey shows that 29 percent of Americans now say they are inclined to support their House representative in November, even lower than in 1994, when voters swept the Democrats out of power in the that chamber after 40 years in the majority.
The poll also finds growing disapproval of the “tea party” movement, with half the population now expressing an unfavorable impression of the loosely aligned protest campaign that has shaken up politics this year.
And at a time when Republicans anticipate significant gains in House and Senate elections, there is also fresh evidence of the challenges facing the GOP. Six in 10 poll respondents say they have a negative view of the policies put forward by the Republican minority in Congress, and about a third say they trust Republicans over Democrats to handle the nation’s main problems.
What does this mean?
That comparisons to 1994 may be easy to make but perhaps inaccurate.
By one calculation (voter ire towards incumbents) the Democrats are in worse shape.
By another calculation (voters are not happy with Republicans and increasingly get an unpleasing taste from the Tea Party movement) Republicans should not — with apologies to Nevada’s Senate GOP hopeful Sue Lowden — count their chickens before they’re hatched.
More than ever the conventional wisdom put forth by the new and old media pundits is — excuse the expression, puh-leaze — so much tea leaf reading. Wait until the results come in – and even then distrust conventional wisdom that makes it sound as if everything is set in concrete in this tempestuous election year when many voters don’t like either party.
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