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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute
Brand Damage: Virtually every poll shows that the GOP’s image is badly tarnished. A new report from the Pew Research Center explains that the recent drop (from 42% nationally with a favorable opinion of the party after the GOP convention to 33% in the January 9-13 Pew poll) comes mostly from Republicans themselves. “Favorable opinions of the GOP among Republicans have fallen 20 points since September (from 89% to 69%) and are now as low as at any point during the past 20 years.”
Extremism?: Is it ideology that has damaged the GOP brand? The January Pew poll finds that 23% of Americans call the Republican Party “very conservative” and another 32% “conservative.” The responses about the Democratic Party’s liberalism were very similar. Twenty-two percent nationally said the party was “very liberal” and another 31% “liberal.”
Obama’s Compassion: In February 2009, 77% of those surveyed by Pew said Barack Obama cared about people like them, while 13% said he did not. In Pew’s new January 2013 poll, a still robust 59% say he cares about them, but 37% say he does not. In July 2005, seven months into his second term, 55% said George W. Bush cared about them, while 41% said he did not.
The results from a new ABC News/Washington Post poll are similar to Pew’s. In 2009, 72% said that Obama understood the problems of people like them. In their January 2013 poll, 55% gave that response.
Immigration Attitudes: A new Fox News poll of registered voters finds more evidence that immigration attitudes are softening. Seventeen percent want to send all illegal immigrants back to their home country, 13% have a guest worker program that allows them to work but only for a limited amount of time, and 66% allow them to remain and eventually qualify for citizenship but only if they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing background check. Fourteen percent of Democrats, 15% of independents, and 22% of Republicans wanted to send them all back.
Health Care Update: A third in a new CBS News/New York Times poll said they would like to see Congress repeal the entire health care law, while 24% want Congress to expand it. Eighteen percent want to keep the entire law in place, and 19% repeal the mandate but keep the rest of the law intact. Sixty-two percent of Republicans want to repeal the whole thing. A third of independents and 11% of Democrats agreed.
Two and you’re done: In the Fox poll, only 17% favor changing the U.S. constitution to allow a president to be elected for more than two terms. Eighty-one percent were opposed. When people were asked if they favor changing the Constitution to allow Barack Obama to run for a third term in office, the responses didn’t move much. Nineteen percent were in favor and 78% opposed.
Global warming: In his inaugural address, President Obama mentioned climate change prominently. But it isn’t a high priority for most people. When Pew asked how much attention President Obama and Congress should give to 21 different issues, global warming ranked dead last: 28% said it should be a top priority. Thirteen percent of Republicans, 31% of independents, and 35% of Democrats said it should be a top priority.
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