According to a new poll conducted by Wall Street Journal and NBC News show that the Republican Party is gaining support on several key issues.
The Republican Party is gaining a public-opinion edge on several key issues ahead of the 2014 elections, as Americans question President Barack Obama’s leadership on Syria and worry about the country’s overall direction, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.
Republicans are now rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP’s lead has strengthened on several other issues, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense.
Significantly, a plurality of the public opposes raising the debt ceiling — 44 percent say that it should not be raised, compared to just 22 percent who say that it should. This suggests that President Obama and the Democrats — who have flatly rejected the premise of negotiating over the debt limit in upcoming fiscal talks — have their work cut out for them when it comes to selling their position to the public. Still, it remains to be seen whether congressional Republicans can extract any leverage from Americans’ opposition to raising the debt ceiling; after all, House Speaker John Boehner has already made it clear that he won’t allow the country to default on its debt, severely limiting his ability to extract concessions for raising the debt limit.
Overall, people are pessimistic about the state of the economy. Just 27 percent say they think the economy will get better over the next 12 months, the lowest percentage in an NBC/WSJ poll since July 2012.
The GOP has also made gains on foreign policy, leading Democrats 33 to 26 percent on the issue. This marks the party’s strongest performance on the subject since George W. Bush’s first term, and is likely driven by President Obama’s unpopular push for military strikes against Syria. Similarly, people trust Republicans over Democrats to ensure a strong national defense by an overwhelming 47 to 14 percent margin.
The Lonely Conservative summed it all up:
So that’s the good news for the GOP. The bad news is they still aren’t very well liked, especially among conservatives. I doubt leaders like John Boehner and Eric Cantor in the House help. They don’t seem to stand for much these days, other than trying saying no to Obama in one breath while helping him out in the next. Then we have guys like Lindsey Graham and John McCain in the Senate who are absolutely dreadful.
As Walter Russell Meade pointed out, the anti-Obama wave can only take Republicans so far.