Government Shutdown

GOP Favorability Plummets, Tea Partiers Less Supportive Than Regular Republicans


Only 28 percent of the American public has a positive view of the Republican Party, down from 38 percent in September, Gallup finds.  It also is the lowest rating since Gallup first began asking the question in 1992. In fact, since 2001 it's been on a fairly steady decline from 55 percent in 2001, to 40 percent in 2008, to 28 percent in October 2013. Independents' dissatisfaction cannot entirely explain this decline, but also the ongoing GOP civil war. Consider this contrast: 80 percent of regular Republicans have a favorable view of the Republican party and 19 percent have an unfavorable view; instead 43 percent of tea party sympathizers have an unfavorable view and 55 percent have a favorable view.  If the tea party had a more favorable view of the party it votes for, this would bolster GOP support.

The government shutdown has hit the GOP image from both sides, among middle-of-the-road voters who want Congressional Republicans to do what is necessary to re-open the government, perhaps capitulating to Democrats, and tea party Republicans who want GOP lawmakers to not compromise until Democrats negotiate. For instance, before the partial government shutdown, Pew found that while 54 percent of non-tea party Republicans wanted Republicans to "compromise, even on a budget you disagree with", only 20 percent of tea partiers agreed. Instead 71 percent of tea partiers want Republicans to "stand by principles, even if it shut the government down."

Research has shown that extreme policy positions do not completely explain unwillingness to compromise, but rather the moralization of attitudes and beliefs. Even when compromise could lead to both sides benefiting, at least in the short run, those with moralized attitudes are less willing to compromise and will punish political leaders willing to negotiate.

NEXT: Study: Chinatowns Getting Whiter

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  1. Apparently those people did not get the news that while Congress shut off the water fountain at the WWII memorial, the Executive is the one who deployed the Gestapo around the perimeter. If that were a privately owned park, this would not be an issue.

    1. Who do you think is going to report that news?

      1. Fox News, since it’s the only biased news source.

  2. Where are all of those Social Conservatives the Republicans have been courting since the 80s? Ooops, bad call. Very few people care what the GAYZ are doing and even fewer fear the DRUGZ. Or maybe they should actually have a coherent plan instead of just yelling how different they are and then acting just the same when in office (this goes equally for the Dems as well, of course). It’s too bad they’ll cave, especially on the Debt Ceiling, I’d really like to see the government reigned even before it destroys my country even more. Every generation likes to gripe but as a historian I really do fear for the country my children will inherit.

    Maybe just maybe the Libertarians can finally bring about some change out of all of this crap. If the civil disobedience continues and grows there may be progress. I just hope it doesn’t require another Boston Massacre.

    1. The big parties usually cave in the direction of statism.

      1. It’s usually the safer bet.

    2. one thing that unites the two parties is their hatred of the libertarians.

      1. I’d say we are making significant headway.

        1. Yep, the hatred is growing day by day.

          1. They can hate us all they want, just so they keep sending people our way.

          2. They hate us for our headway.

    3. The GOP is made up of three groups in roughly equal proportions: libertarians, evangelicals, and moderates.

      Evangelicals and libertarians share economic policy “ideas,” but libertarians lack the former’s obsession about gay people.

      The moderates are ticket splitters, skew female, and are on the verge of abandoning the party because of the current shenanigans.

  3. While the party may freak out about these poll numbers, individual congressmen shouldn’t care. Their only concern is the reaction in their respective districts.

    1. Except a good 20-25 of the them in swingish districts may very well care.

      1. THAT DOESN’T NEGATE WHAT I SAID. (You just picked a fight with a guy who’s not afraid to go to the caps lock.)

        1. I read your line as meaning this shouldnt matter. Well only 20 or so GOP congress members need to break off in order for it to matter.

          Did I interpret yoru meaning incorrectly?

          1. As I read the polling, dont piss off the tea partiers, as they already dislike republicans.

            If you are in a swing district, you cant afford to break off.

            1. There’s a reason the House has voted and stood together on this.

          2. The only polling individual congressmen should concern themselves with is the polling done of their districts’ voters. No one else can vote them into or out of office. If swing district voter attitudes coincide with the national numbers from this poll then, yes, they should be concerned.

  4. Grandpa’s Old Party wants Libertarians to “get off their lawn”!

  5. The other thing about these polls is that stopping Obama is never going to be popular work. The great apolitical mass of America like their legislators to do things. They love compromise. That is why “bipartisanship” is such crack to so many politicians. Stopping things is never going to get you high poll numbers in the short term.

    But that doesn’t mean you won’t do well in the election though. Favorable is a relative term. All you have to do to win an election is have the voters hate you less than your opponent. Beyond that, the only alternative that would bring up these poll numbers is to roll over and give Obama everything he wants and show the country how bi-partisan and reasonable Republicans are. That might be a viable strategy if Obama were not such a fanatic. But he is a fanatic and doing that is not a viable option.

    1. Though its quite possible that other things are dirving it, if you look at the VA gov race, polling has taken a sharper break towards the dem since the shutdown started.

      As least while it’s in the short term memory of voters, it would appear that ths shutdown is helping the dems electorally. We’ll see if it matters a year from now.

      1. Cuccinelli is going be the first political victim of this mess.

        1. Coochi is a victim of Coochi.

      2. How many people are in the tit in Virginia?

          1. I imagine lots, especially near the DC area.

            1. Ok, so fair enough, they feel the shutdown.

  6. So as the electorate grows paradoxically more conservative and less friendly to Republicans, the challenge for the GOP is to figure out how to connect its conservatism with a conservative public that distrusts the conservative party.


    1. I actually thought it was a good line and made some sense.

  7. It would be interesting to see the numbers of voters who voted in 2010.

    1. That is, interesting to see the favorability percentages of voters who vote in mid-term elections.

  8. The way I read those numbers, its a clear message from the Tea Party:

    Stand strong or we will primary your ass.

    1. If people vote in a GOP primary based on compromise v principle, then if 25% of the local GOP voters are tea parties, a compromising incumbent will be packing for home.

  9. They picked the wrong fight plain and simple. Instead of using their political capital, small as it was, to focus completely on the debt limit and overall spending – the R “leadership” instead chose to focus on backdooring a repeal of Obamacare. Of course, defunding doesn’t actually repeal and the whole idea of going that way opens a pandora’s box of tit for tats in the future.

    Americans do not like sore losers and that is exactly how the R’s look with this shutdown over the Obamacare issue, which they have lost in elections three times.

    1. OC is incredibly unpopular and its implementation has been a disaster. The GOP would look like sore losers no matter what they do.

  10. I know the Dems, especially the Progs, got all excited when they saw these numbers, but the importance of these numbers stays pretty much in-party. Here’s the deal: Tea Partiers and little ‘l’ libertarians will vent their rage in primaries, but they’re not gonna look at a “moderate” Republican and say, “By god, this clown’s a RINO. I’m just gonna vote for Harry Reid.” There may be a Republican “civil war” but it’s not going to spontaneously generate a new batch of Democrat converts, no matter what the WaPo would like to hear.

  11. Using disapproval of the Republican Party as a proxy for dissatisfaction with the shutdown exaggerates the level of dissatisfaction. It is media spin that ignores the fact that there are two groups who dislike the Republican Party for polar opposite reasons. The left disapproves of the Republican Party because they believe the Republican Party to be too conservative. The Tea Party conservatives and libertarians disapprove of the Republican Party because it is not conservative enough or too entrenched in establishment politics.

    I suspect this exaggeration effect is also present in polls on public disapproval of Obamacare. Those numbers include a portion of the left that disapprove of Obamacare not for the reasons many here dislike Obamacare but because Obamacare is not single-payer.

  12. Sometimes whiny, petulant children need to lose. It builds character.

    Of course the GOP can lose the overall popular vote by 7 points (!) and retain the majority in the House, so they do have some amount of latitude with respect to completely dismissing the will of the people. All signs point to increased radicalization and continued fear on the part of House Republicans of primary challenges from the right. One wonders why they and their bullshit factories don’t simply stop inventing new and stricter purity tests for themselves. It’s not like the primary voters are coming up with this shit themselves.

    1. “so they do have some amount of latitude with respect to completely dismissing the will of the people. ”

      Well the Dems did do that with OC.

  13. Only 28 percent of the American public has a positive view of the Republican Party,

    That’s a disgrace. That needs to come down into the single digits.

    1. How high is the Dems?

  14. What are the approval ratings of Matt Welch, Rand Paul and Justin Amash?

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