From our friends at “The Fix“:
By a better than 2-to-1 margin, registered voters disapprove than approve of House Speaker John Boehner’s performance during the fiscal cliff talks, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll – a negative rating due in large part to the lack of uniform support for him among Republicans.
In contrast, Democrats overwhelmingly approve of the way President Obama is handling negotiations, even as registered voters split evenly on how the incumbent is handling the matter.
While Obama is buoyed on the question by a high, 79 percent approval rating from Democrats, Boehner is saddled with a basically even verdict from GOP voters (39 percent approve, 37 percent disapprove) thanks to divisions within the congressional delegation he leads.
Boehner has struggled to maintain party discipline among the most conservative congressional Republicans, many who rode the tea party wave into office in 2010. But in the poll, Boehner is weakest in the ideological middle. Nearly half of “very conservative” Republicans and independents (49 percent) approve of how Boehner is handling the negotiations, but that number drops to 35 percent among those who are “somewhat conservative” and further still – to 23 percent – among self-described “moderates.”
None of this should come as a surprise to Boehner and Republicans, because poll after poll has shown Americans are not happy with how the GOP is handling the budget talks. What is truly baffling, then, is why Boehner and friends are continuing down the exact same path. Do they think Americans are going to change their mind at some point?
A separate post from “The Fix” discusses the very real image problem facing Republicans:
One thing comes through loud and clear in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Republicans have a major brand problem…
…What those numbers make clear is that the Republican brand is badly damaged. It is regarded by too many people as an uncompromising relic of the past – a party that lacks new ideas and is, therefore, forced to largely serve as a blockade to the other side. (That’s the biggest reason, by the way, why Republicans should be interested in compromising on the fiscal cliff. They gap between how Obama is regarded and how they are seen is enough to make going over the cliff a genuine political loser for them.)
Republicans have and will continue to insist that they have put out new ideas, but the reality is that the American public doesn’t perceive them that way.
Whatever the reason, it appears that Boehner is driving a car with no brakes as the GOP speeds toward that Fiscal Cliff.