Thursday, July 14, 2011


Steve Benen and The Hill direct our attention to this new national poll from Quinnipiac: 45 - 38 percent [voters] trust the president more than congressional Republicans to handle the economy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The country is in a recession, 71 percent of American voters say, but by 54 - 27 percent they blame former President George W. Bush more than President Obama....

* Voters will blame Republicans over Obama 48 - 34 percent if the debt limit is not raised;
* Voters say 67 - 25 percent that an agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts;
Voters say 45 - 37 percent that Obama's proposals to raise revenues are "closing loopholes," rather than "tax hikes"...

And yet, when we go to the latest Gallup poll, we get this:

Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the "Republican Party's candidate for president" than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%....

Independent registered voters are currently more likely to vote for the Republican candidate (44%) than for Obama (34%)...

Look, I get this, up to a point: In the Quinnipiac poll, voters aren't thrilled with Obama's approach to the economy (they disapprove 56%-38%). And I guess it's a natural thing in a two-party system for voters to want to throw the bums out and vote in the other party.

But is there ever going to be time when Republicans own Republican policies?

Apparently not. If you want to get the public to believe in collective responsibility for policies, apparently you have to have a propaganda operation -- a noise machine, if you will -- that constantly tells voters that what they don't like is the product of a group. The GOP noise machine is excellent at that: It constantly argues that everything upsetting to voters, along with stuff that wouldn't be upsetting to them if the noise machine didn't mention it and distort it, is the result of a group ideology, namely Democratic liberalism.

Democrats have worked at this occasionally in the past -- they persuaded voters to vote out a lot of Republicans in the 2006 midterms, and to reject a Republican presidential candidatetwo years later who was portrayed as a near-clone of George W. Bush -- but there's never been a sustained effort to argue that the Republican political philosophy is an ongoing problem. And so Republicans were able to walk away from the debacles of 2006 and 2008, slap on a few tricorn hats festooned with teabags, and rebrand themselves -- and win the midterms in a landslide two years after Bush left office.

And now Republican officeholders are unpopular again, but this isn't affecting the reputation of Republican presidential candidates. It's maddening.

What percentage of the voting public simply doesn't trust any Republican? The answer: not enough of them.

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