Against Republican Permanence

Brief post today, to be updated, for a few reasons, most of them good

Politico tells us what we already know:

Americans aren’t sure the new Republican House majority can do any better handling the nation’s biggest challenges than President Barack Obama, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Dec. 9-12 found those surveyed divided – with a slight advantage to the president – over who can do a better job of handling the nation’s problems in the next few years. Forty-three percent said Obama, while 38 percent said they believed congressional Republicans would do a better job.

This isn’t news, because it hasn’t changed. Republicans won in November despite these numbers, and that basic, elemental distrust remains. We can take two lessons from this — maybe three. First, all is not lost. Hope remains. Second, congressional Democrats likely suffered (and this is no surprise, either) from that perennial problem plaguing American politicians, especially at midterms — the anti-incumbent effect — in relevant part, blunting any despair about our (haha) “center-right” country. Third, the message really is the problem. Maybe Americans think the President is an anti-business, class warrior cum socialist. But they’re not really thrilled, either, with the freshman-level punditry that passes for policy in the Republican ranks. There’s room to sell, and that’s room to win.



  1. Other interesting data: Obama and the Republicans tie on their perceived abillity to handle terrorism. (5)

    A pretty big majority thinks the Republicans are doing too little to compromise with Obama. (9)

    Republicans considered less sincere about dealing with the deficit than Obama. (19+20)

    A combination of cutting spending and raising taxes is by far the most popular deficit reduction method (22) – but most suggested specific cuts are opposed. (23)

    Also notable: Obama’s approval ratings keep tracking Reagan’s so closely, it’s almost scary.

  2. I would join Jonathon Chait in saying that Democrats over-estimate the effect of better messaging but this piece from First Read is hard to argue with:

    “Want another example of how Republicans play political hardball better than Democrats do? Just look what happened after yesterday’s House vote extending only middle-class tax cuts. We noticed only a few Democratic press releases accusing Republicans of voting against tax cuts for 98% of Americans (and thus accusing them of raising these folks’ taxes). If the shoe had been on the other foot, however, Republicans would have mercilessly pounded Democrats for weeks — if not months.”

    1. Ha! SO messaging does matter in Politics? And Democrats are bad at it? Where have I heard that before????????

      1. It matters to a point. The article seems to imply a lack of conviction more than anything else though.

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