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August 09, 2011

Poll: Debt Debate Hurts Republicans

There's a reason to discount this poll. I'm going to assume, provisionally, that the actual numbers are accurate.

Just 33 percent of Americans approve of the Republican Party, while 59 percent disapprove in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday. That’s a net negative 10-percentage-point shift from less than a month ago...

At the same time, Democrats’ numbers have improved slightly, with approval and disapproval each at 47 percent. In July, 45 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved, an net 4-point positive change.

The tea party movement fares slightly worse than the GOP and has its most dismal ratings since CNN began asking about the movement in polls in January 2010...

Of those surveyed, just 41 percent say they think the House member in their district should be reelected — the lowest ever — while 49 percent said the member does not deserve another term.

First of all, this is a poll of adults, and is then not really predictive of electoral results. Assume Republicans would do better by 4 or 5% among likely voters.

But that's not really why I discount the poll.

I discount it because one party (GOP/Tea Party) is offering plausible but painful policy options to the country.

Oh, we sugar-coat it. We always do. We are not exactly running hard on the Ryan plan, for example.

Nevertheless, most House Republicans voted for that unpopular bill, a fairly gutsy stance that they're not credited enough for.

The other party, on the other hand, offers up pablum and non-solutions that sound good -- "balanced approach," "investments," "modest reforms," etc. -- but are in fact unworkable, and are not really plans at all.

Harry Reid, for example, cannot offer a budget because the budget would be politically embarrassing. The only budget he could offer would demonstrate he intends to explode debt even further. Because he can't agitate for higher taxes (unpopular with independents), and he can't permit significant cuts to anything (the Democratic Welfare Base would not even consider it).

The GOP is therefore offering tough medicine. This tough medicine is not polling well, but it is also not polling catastrophically. The GOP is actually offering its agenda, and that agenda is full of tough, unpopular stuff.

The Democrats, however, are not offering their agenda at all. Obama and Reid and Pelosi continue to strongly imply the fantasy that we can close some corporate jet loopholes and goose taxes on the "wealthiest 1%" and we'll be right as rain.

That is a position with some amount of popular support but, alas, no actual support in the tangible world of real numbers. What is being offered is pure horseshit.

At some point the Democrats will be compelled by circumstance to offer their actual agenda -- and we'll see how that fares when the public understands what they mean by "a balanced approach."

Still, it's dicey for 2012. No one ever went bankrupt betting on the gullibility of the American people, as (I think) P.T. Barnum said.

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posted by Ace at 05:23 PM

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