Two very big concerns for Republicans

Republicans are licking their chops because they see the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as their ticket to winning the November 2014 elections. All their eggs are in that basket, and they assume the political climate will be similar to how it was after the disastrous rollout of last fall.

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For some reason, they don’t believe they need a healthcare alternative plan, they don’t need to pass (or can’t pass) immigration reform, they don’t need to act on legislation to help create jobs, etc. In other words, all they need to do is to be the “Repeal Republicans” when it comes to the healthcare law to emerge victorious in November and take control of the Senate.

A new CNN poll should cause them very real concerns on two very important fronts.

First, the Republicans’ difficulties with female voters are not going away. When asked “do you think the Republican Party generally understands the problems and concerns of women,” only 42 percent say yes and 55 percent say no. The same question for Democrats results in 63 percent saying yes and 33 percent saying no. That is a 21-point gap in favor of the Democrats.

Thus, whatever Republicans think they have been doing since the drubbing in 2012 is not working to improve their standing with women.

The second area is the crucially important question of who stands up for the middle class. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comment has also not gone away, and the general perception of Republicans has not changed.

When asked “Do you think the policies of the Republican Party generally favor the rich, favor the middle class or favor the poor," a full 69 percent believe Republicans favor the rich, 23 percent say they favor the middle class and only 3 percent believe they favor the poor. As for the Democratic Party, 30 percent say they favor the rich, 36 percent say they favor the middle class and 30 percent say they favor the poor.

Thus, for Democrats a total of 66 percent say they favor the middle class or the poor and those numbers are only 26 percent for Republicans, a gap of 40 percent. When 7 in 10 Americans believe you are the party of the rich, trust me, you have a problem.

Could Democrats strengthen their standing with the middle class? You bet. Should they be the “opportunity party"? You bet. Should they have a message for 2014 and beyond that they can do more for well-paying jobs, helping working families and strengthening the middle class? No question.

The bottom line is that the perception of the Republican Party on these two critical concerns, helping women and helping the middle class, is a serious issue for the party. And, from what I can tell, they are doing very little substantively to change that.

Contact Fenn at pfenn@fenn-group.com.