Now that the shutdown is over, at least for a few months, the polling data coming in is showing just how bad the whole fiasco was for the Republican party in the minds of voters. And the numbers are so one-sided in a new ABC/Washington Post poll that they are kind of astonishing.
President Obama’s favorability ratings have stayed about the same, pretty much a dead heat with 48% approving of the job he’s doing and 49% disapproving. The numbers for the Republican party’s handling of the budget showdown? A whopping 77% disapproval and only 21% approval. And among registered voters, it’s 81% disapproval, with 62% strongly disapproving. Asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the Republican party, 63% said unfavorable and only half, 32%, said favorable. Favorable/unfavorable for the Tea Party is at 59% negative and 25% positive.
And this is a very interesting question and result. When asked if they think President Obama “is more interested in doing what’s best for the country or what’s best for himself politically,” 52% said he does what’s best for the country and 46% say he does what’s best for him. Asked the same question about the Republicans in Congress, a staggering 77% said they act in their own political interests and against the best interests of the country, with only 20% saying they do what’s right.
And the numbers just keep coming. 81% disapproved of the government shutdown; 17% approved of it. And they blamed Republicans rather than Obama for it by a 53%-29% margin. 86% said that the shutdown damaged America’s standing in the world and 80% thought it damaged the economy.
Now the relevant question is whether this even matters to the Tea Party caucus among House Republicans, who seem to be completely oblivious to public opinion (largely because they live in an echo chamber and believe that the majority actually supports them, all evidence to the contrary being ignored or dismissed). If so, we might avoid the same thing in January. If not, it’s groundhog day again.