A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows the public generally, and Independent voters in particular, moving away from Republicans and towards Democrats on the federal budget/government shutdown issue.
I tend to like to look at what Independents think, as it’s often not very telling to see that Republicans like Republicans and Democrats like Democrats. The group that really matters is Independent voters, and while they’re not happy with either party, they more unhappy with Republicans – and what’s more, they’re now moving even further in the direction of Democrats.
As the Post notes, overall disapproval of the GOP (among all voters combined) on this issue has shot up to 70% disapproval from last week’s 63%. But part of that, one could argue, might be Tea Party Republicans not thinking the GOP is being hardlined enough. So let’s look at Independent voters. And in the case of Independents, they’re increasingly siding with Democrats.
Here’s some data I pulled together on Independent voters from the Post/ABC poll. Note that Indie approval of the GOP has actually increased from 21% to 23% over the past week, a two point increase – so you might think that’s good news for Republicans. Not really. At the same time, Indie disapproval of Republicans went from 66% to 71%. Undecided Indies are now moving over to the Democratic camp, and against Republicans.
Look at the Indie results about Democrats. Indies approval of Democrats went from 27% to 31%, a four point increase. While overall Indie disapproval of Dems only went up one point, from 62% to 63%.
Now, that’s not to say that Democrats don’t need to be careful. Over the past week, “strong disapproval” of Democrats by Indie voters went from 38% to 45%. That’s not a small amount. But on the Republican side it went up from 44% to 50%. Overall, the Republicans added most to their disapproval over the past week, among Independents, while Democrats added most to their approval.
So what you have overall is Indie voters not terribly happy with either party, but they’re more happy with Democrats. And, over time, we’re seeing Independents overall moving even further towards Democrats, and further away from Republicans.