Public has mixed reaction to GOP election wins, new poll finds

The public had a mixed reaction to the Republican Party's wins on Election Day, according to a new Pew Poll.

The poll found that only 48 percent said they were happy about the GOP victory, while 35 percent were unhappy. In 1994, when Republicans took back the House, 57 percent said they were happy and 31 percent were unhappy. And in 2006, when Democrats retook the House, 60 percent described themselves as happy, with just 24 percent unhappy.

And there's little optimism that relations between the two parties will improve. Just 22 percent expect relations to get better, while 28 percent say they will get worse and 48 percent say they will stay about the same.

There is a three-way split in opinion on what should be done about extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts: Thirty-four percent favor keeping all of the tax cuts; 30 percent say the tax cuts for the wealthy should be repealed while other reductions stay in place; and 28 percent say all the tax cuts should be repealed.

House Republican Leader John Boehner's (Ohio) name recognition is up slightly. Now 10 percent of people see him as leader of the GOP, compared to the 5 percent who said the same in September. Overall, 51 percent said they don't know who leads the Republican Party.

And there is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination for president; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney all receive about the same level of support. Palin and Huckabee both got 15 percent, while Romney got 13 percent.