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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daily Kos: Poll: Lame duck boosts Obama; GOP slips

Daily Kos: Poll: Lame duck boosts Obama; GOP slips

Opinion Research Corporation for CNN. 12/17-19. 1,000 American adults. MoE 3%.

As you may know, over the past few weeks Congress has been meeting in what is sometimes referred to as a "lame duck" session to consider issues including tax cuts, unemployment benefits, government spending, gays in the military, and nuclear arms. Please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following have handled those issues under consideration during this session: (RANDOM ORDER)
Barack Obama: 56% approve, 41% disapprove
The Republicans in Congress: 42% approve, 53% disapprove
The Democrats in Congress: 44% approve, 52% disapprove

Overall, 42% had a favorable opinion of the GOP while 50% had an unfavorable opinion. The public was split at 47% on the Democratic Party.

One important finding from the poll is that the public believes President Obama has done an effective job at reaching out to Republicans -- but they don't believe Republicans have done an effective job at reaching out to President Obama. 59% said President Obama was doing enough to work with Republicans (up from 47% in February), but just 28% said Republicans were doing enough to work with President Obama.

This hasn't just boosted Obama's ratings, it's also boosted Democrats relative to Republicans. In February, 35% said Democrats were mostly responsible for the lack of cooperation in DC compared and 37% blamed Republicans. Now, 46% blame Republicans and just 28% blame Democrats.

The implication of this is that the public is looking to the GOP to give more ground the next time compromise is required. In February, 51% felt Democrats needed to give up more than Republicans compared to 43% who felt Republicans needed to give up more than Democrats. That's now shifted: 45% say Democrats need to give up more while 47% say Republicans need to give up more.

While it's true that allowing Republicans to take hostages during the tax cut debate validated their hardline stance, it's also true that the public noticed what the GOP did. They might find legislative success if they pursue the same hostage-taking strategy again during the budget and debt ceiling battle which will play out this spring, but they will do so at the expense of turning the public further against them. That means despite the outcome of the tax cut battle, Democrats and the Obama administration are in better position now to hold the line in negotiations, at least as far as short-term public opinion goes.

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