By Molly K. Hooper - 02/12/10 02:32 AM EST
House Republicans won their televised debate with President Barack Obama last month, according to a GOP document distributed to lawmakers on Thursday.
The document, obtained by The Hill, notes that Obama’s job approval ratings have dipped since the Jan. 29 meeting while Republican numbers have soared.
But Republican leaders are disputing that conventional wisdom, citing recent polls that indicate that they won the battle.
In a Thursday afternoon conference call with rank-and-file House GOP lawmakers, leaders shared a list of survey data taken before and after the retreat.
In the document titled “Recent Public Surveys, Fielded Post Baltimore Retreat,” Republican leaders focused on Obama’s job approval, generic ballot matchups, party brand image and issue handling.
Republicans numbers in all these areas have improved over the last couple of weeks.
“Since the Baltimore retreat there have been several public surveys released. Four surveys had President Obama’s job approval getting worse, while one showed it getting better,” the document states.
Polls taken by the Washington Post/ABC News, Fox News, Marist and Democracy Corps show Obama’s approval rating slip from two to four percentage points. A Gallup poll showed his numbers improving from 48 percent before the retreat to 51 percent after.
Three of the surveys asked questions about generic ballot match-ups. Before the showdown in Baltimore, the Washington Post/ABC News comparison showed Republicans losing 39 percent to 51 percent and 46-46 this month.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted Feb. 4-8, with 1,004 adults.
“In the Washington Post/ABC News survey, among adults Republicans were even with Democrats. The last time that occurred in this survey was in November 2002. Among registered voters in the Post/ABC survey Republicans led by a 3 point margin 48-45,” the document states.
Democrats dispute the Republican claims.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman Ryan Rudominer said, “No amount of spin and arrogance from these House Republicans, who continue to be caught taking credit for president Obama’s recovery policies they led the fight against, will change the fact that the president took on the entire Republican Conference and walked away the winner.”
Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS poll released this week shows that Obama has an edge over the GOP in public support.
A White House spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
Obama has called for a bipartisan summit later this month on healthcare reform. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he wants to work with the president, but has also expressed concern that the meeting is a “trap” for the GOP.