Govt. shutdown poll: Independents favor, and moving towards, Dems

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.

Independent voter via Shutterstock

Independent voter via Shutterstock

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.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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11 Responses to “Govt. shutdown poll: Independents favor, and moving towards, Dems”

  1. Frank Adams-Watters says:

    Up to a point, gerrymandering prevents the other party from gaining seats. But after that point, it produce a sudden large change. This is not a prediction, but it is a possibility

  2. Bill_Perdue says:

    Democrats are the clear and the most powerful enemy of working people because they control the WH. Republicans are also the enemy but because they don’t control the WH are, for now, the lesser enemy.

    As I said, Democrats are dead in the water and the Republicans are torpedoing themselves. They’re their own worst enemies.

    Accomplices of the Democrat Party’s wars of aggression, union busting and imposed austerity who pretend that socialists and leftists are Republicans resort to that sort of thing because they’re immersed in the swamp of Democrat Party partisanship and vote mongering. Poor things.

  3. FLL says:

    “Preemptive excuse mongering.”

    A political pattern over a period of more than 150 years is not “preemptive excuse mongering.” It’s an overwhelming historical argument. I doubt if you can get Wikipedia and other sources to delete their web pages concerning the six-year pattern that they discuss. Furthermore, the difference between the vote totals during presidential elections and midterm elections is constant throughout American history. Everyone knows that vote totals are always higher during presidential elections and lower during midterm elections, and everyone knows that this has always been the case. Your efforts at spin are humorous.

    But let me turn my attention to what I have called your mask. Consider the two following excerpts from your reply:

    (1) “Democrats are dead in the water and the Republicans are torpedoing themselves. That’s a good thing.”

    (2) “2014 will likely be a repeat of 2010”

    These two statements are contradictory. (1) would imply that the 2014 midterm will be a toss-up, with neither party gaining or losing seats. The midterm election of 2010 that you mention in (2) was anything but a toss-up; it was a solid Republican victory. Statements (1) and (2) cannot both be true. So which is it? Well, statement (1) is your familiar mask, with which you insult both parties in what you think is an even-handed manner. Statement (2) is not a statement of what you believe, but rather a statement of your hopes. No one in the country, including you, believes that 2014 will be the solid Republican victory that you claim that it will be in statement (2). Your mask is transparent to everyone but you, which makes you a figure of fun. It’s such a predictable pattern. First, you issue a cut-and-past disclaimer that both parties are evil, and then you express your hope (which you claim is your honest belief) that the Republicans will win big. You repeat this pattern over and over in each of your posts and fancy that no one catches on. Not even Elmer’s glue will keep your mask from slipping.

  4. Bill_Perdue says:

    Preemptive excuse mongering.

    The unpopularity of Obama’s wars, the Democrats attacks on civil liberties and rights, their cavalier refusal to do anything real about long term, massive unemployment, Obama’s racist murders of Arab Americans, his union busting, his declared intention of gutting Medicare and Social Security all make Obama and the Democrats indistinguishable from Republicans on most key issues.

    It makes no difference to the passage of ENDA or the repeal of the remainder of DOMA and of state DOMAs which party runs the government.

    2014 will likely be a repeat of 2010, when the national combined Democrat total for the House was 38,980,192, a drop from Obama’s presidential vote of 69,498,516 in 2008 of over 30,500,000. Those vote totals indicate that tens of millions of people who initially believed Obama’s hope and change BS learned their lesson and deserted the Democrats. Most of them did not vote for the other lesser evil, the Republicans whose 2010 House vote was 44,827,441 down from their 2008 vote of 52,249,491. Obama’s vote in 2012 was 65,915,796, down 4 million from 2008 so its clear that those tens of millions are not returning to the party that’s consistently betrayed them.

    And that’s a good thing.

    (data from Wiki)

  5. BeccaM says:

    They can’t have it both ways for those who aren’t the GOP crazy-base.

    The base, on the other hand, has been well-trained to manage double-think. They can be told two contradictory things in the same sentence, and as long as it boils down to “Our side good; other side evil” — it’s fine.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Those Republicans who shut it down are torn between wanting to claim credit to appease their psycho base, and wanting to blame Democrats for it. They can’t seem to understand that they can’t have it both ways.

  7. Indigo says:

    The voters put the obstructionists in office, possibly for the very purpose of obstructing. If that is the plan, it’s working. It’ll take a whole lot more than a few percentage points of independents (who are rarely as independent as they say) to adjust the balance in the House. I don’t see change on the horizon, we’re stuck for now.

  8. bkmn says:

    Is there anybody left outside the Republican echo chamber (Fux News, Rushbo, WND, Not so Bright-bart, etc.) that thinks the Democrats are to blame for this shutdown? Hell, the republicans don’t even know why they shut it down.

  9. FLL says:

    The newly gerrymandered maps would make it even more difficult for the Democrats to gain seats during the midterm elections of Obama’s second term. There are so many daunting factors in favor of the Republicans. The results should be interesting.

  10. Drew2u says:

    Does that “Six Year Itch” take in account the newly gerrymandered maps? Not only do democrats need to calculate how many seats they need to win, but by what margin in those districts do they need Democratic votes to account for in order to win those seats (See: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, etc.)

  11. FLL says:

    I still think that the so-called “Six Year Itch” is almost always an accurate predictor because it has proven true since the Civil War (and probably for most of American history before that)—with only one single exception. The “Six Year Itch” is the pattern which takes place during a president’s sixth year in office. During the midterm election in a president’s second term, the president’s party always loses seats in Congress. The only exception, since the Civil War, was the 1998 midterm elections, during which the Democrats gained 5 seats in the House (and the Senate remained unchanged). Even so, the Democrats would have needed to gain 12 seats to have retaken control of the House from the Republicans in 1998, and they fell short by 7 seats. (The link to Wikipedia’s page for the “Six Year Itch” is here.)

    If the 2014 midterm elections result in a gain of House seats for the Democrats (even a few seats), it would be only the second time this has happened since the Civil War, and it would look horrible for the Republican Party. And bear in mind that Bill Clinton was more popular in 1998 than Obama is now. Could anyone out there possibly suggest that the Democrats win the 17 seats necessary to flip control of the House? That would be the political equivalent of letting go of an apple and expecting it to fall up instead of down, and I do not expect apples to fall up. I think the normal course of affairs (taking younger and more Hispanic demographics into account) is that the Democrats will retake the House in 2016. Technically, anything is possible in this world. The moon could fall out of the sky. The French government could make English the single official language of France. And I would certainly be willing to eat my words if the Democrats gain, not 5, but freaking 17 House seats next year.

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