By Markos Moulitsas - 03/03/09 04:26 PM EST
Every week in 2009, Daily Kos has commissioned nonpartisan pollster Research 2000 to ask a large sample of Americans whether they have a favorable view of President Obama, the congressional leadership of both parties, and the parties themselves. In addition, they have been asked whether they think America is headed in the right or wrong direction. You can see the numbers here: dailykos.com/weeklytrends.
The results have been unequivocal — the more action government takes to extricate the country from the recession, the better the numbers for Democrats and their leadership. In the last week alone, following passage of the stimulus bill, the favorability ratings of congressional Democrats increased by a whopping 13 net points as formerly disaffected Democrats and leery independents registered strong endorsement of the bold action to fix the economy. A plurality of Americans — 46 percent — now approve of the congressional Democrats, compared to 45 percent who disapprove. Congressional Republicans lag far behind, with a dismal 17-68 favorable/unfavorable rating.
For all the GOP talk of “unity” and having “won the stimulus debate,” the fact is, the American people don’t like them or their do-nothing obstructionist agenda.
The regional breakdowns of the favorability numbers are even more fascinating. Respondents in the South gave congressional Democrats a 30-59 approval rating, by far the worst in the country. But elsewhere — in the Northeast, Midwest and the West —Democrats enjoyed solid majority support. Take out the South, and congressional Democrats can boast a respectable 53-39 favorability rating.
For congressional Republicans, the Southern favorability numbers don’t look much better than they did for the Democrats — 30-55. But outside of their Southern home turf, congressional Republicans face a catastrophic 11-74 favorability rating. The GOP’s status as a regional party couldn’t be more obvious.
The hysterical cries of “Socialism!” at the annual conservative Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) can’t change the fact that Americans like Democrats in charge, and like the Democratic commitment to use governmental powers to fix economic problems. This past week, 39 percent of respondents said the country was on the “right track,” compared to 58 percent who thought it was on the “wrong track.” That compares to 36-61 the previous week, and 26-63 in the first week of January.
And the Daily Kos/Research 2000 polling clearly isn’t an outlier. In the last two weeks, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed approval of Democrats in Congress at 50 percent, with Fox News at 46 percent and Gallup at 47. In each of these polls, congressional Republicans trail significantly, their intransigence supported by few.
Over the weekend, the GOP’s de facto leader, Rush Limbaugh, rallied his CPAC audience in a 90-minute speech televised nationally by Fox News and CNN. “One thing we can all do is stop assuming that the way to beat them is with better policy ideas,” he thundered to great applause, adding that, “To us, bipartisanship is [Democrats] being forced to agree with us after we have politically cleaned their clocks and beaten them.”
Given that the public is certainly demanding “better policy ideas” than what the GOP delivered the last decade, and given the current polling numbers, the GOP won’t be cleaning any clocks anytime soon. Meanwhile, Obama and his congressional allies have promised to withdraw completely from Iraq by 2011, provide universal healthcare and continue to use government as an instrument for vigorous economic recovery.
And the American people couldn’t be happier with those efforts.
Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos