A new poll released Oct. 10 shows that the government shutdown has had a devastating impact on the Republican Party. The NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll found public approval of the Republican Party at historic lows.
The new poll found that 24 percent approved of the Republicans while 53 percent disapproved. Approval for the GOP has fallen eight points since June. The high point for the Republicans was in December 2001 with 57 percent approval. Tea Party approval declined to 21 percent from 26 percent in June. This also represents a historic low. The Tea Party’s highest approval was in June 2010 with 34 percent.
The poll found Democratic approval at 39 percent with 40 percent disapproval. Democratic approval numbers were unchanged since June. President Obama’s approval stands at 47 percent, which is identical to his approval rating in June. Obama’s high was in February 2009 and his low was in 2006. The high for the Democrats was in 2000 and their low was in 2006.
The poll found that Republicans were blamed for the government shutdown by a 22 point margin over President Obama (53-31 percent). Forty-six percent consider the shutdown extremely serious even though 68 percent had not been directly affected.
A strong majority, 70 percent, believe that Republicans are putting their political agenda ahead of what is good for the country. Fifty-one percent believe the same of President Obama.
In another disturbing trend for Republicans, the poll showed a drop in the preference for Republicans in Congress. In the poll, voters preferred a Democratic-controlled Congress by 47-39 percent. For much of the past year, the two parties have been deadlocked in the poll for congressional preference. Currently, 70 percent disapprove of the Republicans in Congress while 59 percent approve of the Democrats.
These trends show clearly that the Republican Party is taking the brunt of the blame for the government shutdown. As Examiner reported previously, the makeup of Senate races in 2014 gives the GOP an edge, but plummeting approval ratings from the government shutdown may threaten Republican chances for a Senate takeover.
If the shutdown continues or the nation defaults, it might even become likely that the Republicans lose their majority in the House of Representatives in the next election. In 2012, House Democrats actually received more votes than House Republicans, but Republican advantages due to redistricting allowed them to retain the majority.
There were few winners in the poll. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the Republican senator who pushed the strategy of defunding Obamacare, gained slightly. Cruz’ approval rating now stands at 14 percent. His June approval was 10 percent.
Barack Obama is the biggest winner. At 47 percent approval and 41 percent disapproval, the president is the only figure or group with a higher approval than disapproval.