By Timothy Daughtry
A new poll of 1,000 likely voters by McLaughlin and Associates has good news and bad news for the Republican Party. The good news is that the “Blue Wave” so hoped for by the liberal media is not at all inevitable and that there is still a possible path to Republican victory in November.
The bad news is that tough talk about getting control of spending, securing the borders, and reining in the bureaucracy won’t cut it with the GOP base this time. Republican voters are wanting results, and many in the GOP base see Republican leadership as supporting the swamp they were sent to Washington to drain.
The best news for the GOP is that the generic ballot for Congress in the November election is essentially tied at 44% for the Democrats and 43% for Republicans. With an enthusiastic turnout of the GOP base and a good showing with independents, the GOP has a path to maintain its majorities. For Republicans in Congress, that is pretty much the end of the good news.
Overall, only 34% of likely voters approve the job the GOP majority in Congress is doing and 57% disapprove. That in itself would not be surprising given the deep polarization in the nation and the anti-Republican bias in the liberal media. But the disapproval with the GOP majority in Congress is not coming solely from the left. Detailed analysis indicates dissatisfaction within the Republican base itself. Republican approval of the GOP Congress is only 70%, with 25% disapproving.
Worse, among conservatives who comprise the core of the GOP base, only 54% approve of the job the Republican majority in Congress is doing.
It is evident that the GOP Congress is not doing what they need to do in order to energize and mobilize their base. Meanwhile, Democrats are much more unified in their assessment of the GOP Congress, with 81% disapproving.
The poll also dispels the popular Beltway narrative that President Trump is a drain on the ticket. Even with a propaganda barrage from the liberal media that is overwhelmingly negative, President Trump’s job approval rating of 45% is higher than the job approval of the GOP Congress, with both Republicans (84%) and conservatives (73%) approving his job performance.
But the finding that should keep Republicans in Congress awake at night has to do with trust. When asked who they trust more to carry out their campaign promises, 31% of voters overall chose Trump, 27% chose the Democrats in Congress, and only 6% chose the Republicans. And the dismal rating for Republicans is not coming just from the left. Only 15% of Republicans trusted their own party to carry out their promises, and that dropped to 9% among the conservative base. But Republicans (64%) and conservatives (57%) trusted Trump to do what he said he would do.
With Democrats, 65% trusted their party to do what they say they will do. In other words, the left sees in the Democrats a vehicle to translate their promises into policy. But the center-right mainstream has no such confidence that Republicans will turn their rhetoric into results.
That is not a just a message problem for the Republicans in Congress. That is a messenger problem. What good is it to find the right message if only 15% of your own base believes the messenger? That is no way to energize the base and turn them out in November.
What is driving the GOP’s trust problem? Giant all-or-nothing spending bills like the Omnibus just passed by the GOP are part-and-parcel of the self-serving, double-talking haze that covers the DC swamp. Such massive bills not only lead to excessive spending and debt, but they also make it hard for voters to trust what their representatives say and to hold them accountable. Republicans can talk tough on the campaign trail about liberal groups such as Planned Parenthood getting taxpayer funding and then funneling some of that money back to Democrat candidates who pushed for the funding. Self-serving insider deals like that reek of the DC swamp. But those same Republicans can go home and say they had no choice but to fund such groups because the funding was part of the larger bill that funded the military.
That explanation sounds plausible until voters remember that the GOP has the leadership and could have separated the spending bills into cleaner packages with up-or-down votes on controversial funding.
And when given a choice, 58% of voters overall preferred smaller bills with more scrutiny of each government program and only 20% liked the giant all-or-nothing spending bills like the Omnibus that the GOP just passed. And the voters who the GOP needs to mobilize were especially in favor of the simplified and more transparent process, with 60% of Republicans, 61% of Independents, and 58% of conservatives endorsing it.
With 57% of Republicans and 55% of Independents saying that the overarching mission of Congressional leadership in 2018 should be eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, massive all-or-nothing bills are exactly the wrong way to go.
No wonder 46% of voters overall say the Republican leadership is “supporting the swamp that President Trump promised to drain,” and that includes over one-third of Republican voters and 41% of conservatives.
Outside of the Beltway, with its obsession with porn stars, Russian collusion, and lobbyist money, mainstream America is concerned about the drift towards lawlessness and the loss of fundamental rights. Overall opposition to sanctuary states and cities is at 52%, including 77% of Republicans and 54% of Independents. Eighty percent of voters agree that “the America traditions of freedom and individual rights are being threatened by growing social movements, public bullying and increasing political violence.” Only 39% believe that their elected officials in Washington share their degree of concern.
The GOP was given majorities in Congress in order to address those concerns of mainstream America. If they want to keep those majorities, talk-the-talk won’t get it any longer. It’s time for the GOP to walk their talk.