A pair of polls show Americans are largely unhappy with both the GOP and the tea party wing of the party.
Tea party favorability has fallen to an all-time low according a Gallup poll released Wednesday, which found a slight majority (51%) of Americans have an unfavorable view of the tea party. The poll finds 30% of Americans feel positively about the tea party, down from a high of 39% in 2011. Republicans are most likely to support the movement, with 58% seeing it favorably, and unsurprisingly Democrats overwhelmingly dislike the tea party – 74% to 10%.
Moderates aren’t too keen on the movement either. While the split is not as stark as with Democrats, moderates are more likely than even the general public to say they don’t favor the tea party (54%) and only 23% say they do favor it.
It turns out moderates tend to prefer the Democratic Party to the Republican Party as well. A secondGallup poll released Wednesday finds Democrats maintain a 10-point lead over Republicans in terms of favorability with the American public. While moderates are currently evenly split on the Democratic Party, with 47% viewing it positively and another 47% viewing it negatively, only 27% of moderates have positive views of the Republican Party right now.
In his strongest rebuke yet, the Republican House leader on Thursday blasted tea party-aligned conservative groups for repeatedly pulling GOP
lawmakers into unwinnable situations that have only damaged the party brand. The groups’ criticism of a bipartisan budget deal before it was even released was a step too far for Boehner.
“I think they’ve lost all credibility,” Boehner said at his weekly briefing on Capitol Hill. “They pushed us into the fight to defund Obamacare and shut down the government…And the day before the government reopened, one of these groups said, ‘Well, we never thought it would work.’”
In the Senate, Republican leaders and senior GOP senators are balking at the budget deal, arguing that it hikes spending too high without demanding more immediate cuts in return. Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is widely expected to oppose the proposal, and his top GOP leadership lieutenants also raised deep concerns Wednesday, highlighting the party’s continued divide over fiscal strategy, which has only intensified since the October government shutdown.
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party’s gay congressional candidates.
Mitch McConnell met privately on Tuesday with House Republicans in an attempt to stiffen their spines and preserve the party’s leverage in the next government shutdown fight.
The Senate minority leader urged GOP members, including committee chairmen, who arevoicing strong concerns with the painful military cuts under sequestration to hang tough and stand by the austerity spending level of $967 billion.
“I wish the budget conference well, but I do hope that at the end of the day we’ll support the Budget Control Act. It’s the law of the land,” McConnell told reporters afterward. “It sets out [spending] caps to be achieved. We know that it’s been highly successful. We’ve reduced for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War. I think it’s a bad idea to revisit a law that is actually working and reducing spending for the government. Within those constraints, I wish them well. … I hope they will comply with the law.”
The Republican-turned-Democrat is considered a front-runner for the Democratic ticket. He would likely be up against current Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. Scott represents a far more conservative version of the GOP than Crist ever did.
Crist is clearly hoping to benefit from widespread anger about the government shutdown, the majority of which has focused on Republicans. Earlier in the week, Crist appeared in a newly posted YouTube video directed at Florida voters, urging them to “end this nonsense and get us back to common sense” ways of governing.
“I’m an optimist but let’s face it, the last few years have been tough: government on the fringes, donors in politics above you the people,” said Crist in the video. “You’ve seen the attacks against full-time working people and their health care; against women and their doctors; against teachers, public schools and college affordability; And even against the simple act of casting your vote. It’s not working.”
The twin dramas of the government shutdown and botched rollout of Obamacare have snapped a sleepy 2014 election season out of its slumber, sharpening the battle lines for each party and setting the stage for a consequential midterm that few expected even two months ago.
The spring and summer months were filled with charges and countercharges about the Internal Revenue Service, wiretapping, Syria and immigration. Politicians recycled old attack lines and operatives confidently predicted control of Congress would remain status quo after next November.
No more. The parties’ competing political narratives — the dangers of a tea party-controlled party versus the perils of President Barack Obama’s far-reaching health care law — have been thrown into sharp relief the past several weeks. Now each party has something tangible to point to — that touch voters’ lives in concrete ways — to argue that the other should be booted from office.