One chart shows how badly the GOP hurt itself

HuffPost/Pollster has a chart showing the general congressional (House) poll over the past year or so. It shows how badly the GOP’s popularity dropped since this past July, and through most of the government shutdown.

The generic poll is the “would you vote for a Republican or a Democrat in your local congressional election?” question. It’s not proof of how any particular election is going to go, but it is a good barometer of general public sentiment vis-a-vis the two parties.

What the chart shows is that on November 18, 2012, Democrats were ahead of Republicans, 45.8% to 38.3%.

That lead dropped until July of this year, when it stagnated for a month, with Democrats only ahead of Republicans by half a point. Then, it takes off.

In the latest poll, from October 13, 2013, Democrats are ahead, 45% to 39.1%.

It took two and a half months for the Republicans to lose seven months of gains.  (Well, not really “gains” per se. Rather, the Democrats spent seven months losing ground, and won it back in a little more than two months.)

And while the chart makes clears that things can change a lot in the year before the next election, it also makes clear that the Republicans are pretty much stuck at 39%.

While the Democratic numbers went up to nearly 46% last year, then down to 39%, then back to 45%, the entire time the GOP numbers remained stagnant.  That seems to mean that there’s a middle ground that is undecided on Democrats, but has already made up its mind about Republicans, and it really doesn’t like them, no matter how bad Democrats are at any given moment.

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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29 Responses to “One chart shows how badly the GOP hurt itself”

  1. HelenRainier says:

    My visual was terrific.

  2. Naja pallida says:

    Not as descriptive as it sounded when I first wrote it, because meth is sometimes prescribed as a treatment for narcolepsy… but I think people got the point. :)

  3. ArthurH says:

    As I remember, leading up to the 1998 election, Gingrich predicted that the GOP would pick up as many as 35 seats in the House. When the GOP lost seats instead, I recall one syndicated radio shock jock commenting that the election effectively castrated Gingrich as a leader. A few days later when Gingrich (unable to accept criticism of his leadership) resigned as House Speaker and his House seat, the same jock remarked that, “What else did Gingrich have to do but pick up his balls and go home.” We should be working to make Boehner and company do the same.

  4. ronbo says:

    The Occupy movement had 59% of public support before the corporate media began their carefully planned program of attack. We can take the Democratic party back and away from the corporate stooges (Republicans of 1992 – Clinton was their MO).

    Critical to ANY success is a national media outlet that isn’t owned of, by and for the 1%. I’m excited by the Glenn Greenwald project with eBay founder Omidyar. I’ll invest in it with cash AND I’ll work to get word of mouth to advertisers. Without advertisers, it ain’t gonna fly.

  5. HelenRainier says:

    “…a narcoleptic ferret on meth.” That’s very descriptive!

  6. Nathanael says:

    What’s wrong is that the GOP appears to have a steady base of Limbaugh/Fox zombies, and it appears to be 38%. *That’s too high*. The country can tolerate a crazifcation factor of 27%, but the additional 11% is a real problem!

  7. FLL says:

    The way they are headed, the congressional Republicans could tie the current record for a poor showing, which is currently held by Newt Gingrich’s congressional Republicans of 1998. Since the Civil War, every two-term president (or three-term, in the case of FDR) has seen his political party lose seats in Congress during the midterm elections of his second term—with only one exception: 1998, when the Democrats won 5 seats in the House (but still fell 7 seats short of the 12 seats they would have needed to retake control of the House from the Republicans). Today’s congressional Republicans might actually tie that historical record (if the Democrats win a few seats in the House) simply because the Republicans have behaved like such blithering idiots.

    Having said that, it would be unprecedented for the Democrats to win the 17 seats necessary to retake control of the House. During the first quarter of the 19th century, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe did see their party gain seats in the midterm elections of their second term, but their party was already in control those houses of Congress. During the midterm elections of a second-term president, a house of Congress has never flipped in favor of the president’s party. Never. Not in all of American history. Technically, anything in this world is possible, but a Democratic takeover of the House next year is the very longest of long shots.

  8. Dakotahgeo says:

    The workers who were furloughed won’t forget, nor will their relatives or friends! This is a good thing!

  9. emjayay says:

    Not exactly on social issues. Particularly gay related ones.

  10. Badgerite says:

    I would settle for the end of the ‘Southern Strategy’. If they could just quit catering to the racist and the crazy, and start interfacing with reality a little. I understand their concern about the debt. But the Bat Shit Crazy Caucus seem to use that as a pretext to attack all things Government, good or bad.
    I don’t consider Paul Ryan to be a card carrying member of the Bat Shit Crazy Caucus. But his ‘plan’ for Medicare is ridiculous. He talks about replacing Medicare with ‘vouchers’ to buy insurance for the elderly on the market. That is simply unworkable and would achieve nothing in terms of the budget. The Affordable Care Act will. The CBO has projected that it will bring down the deficit. The numbers of Ryan’s alleged plan, on the other hand, have never added up. If they could just interface with reality a little, it would be nice. Do things that are actually effective at bringing down the debt vs going after their favorite straw man. And quit doing what is actually destructive to the economy and the country, as they did during this last debacle

  11. caphillprof says:

    Yes they can.

  12. Thom Allen says:

    I’d certainly like to think so.

  13. MyrddinWilt says:

    I have a different take. I think that the GOP have driven away everyone from their party who isn’t a Fox News watching zombie. Look at how their support is constant over time.

    What changes is the response of the Democrats. In the seven months where it looks like there is going to be a cave in response to GOP tea party treason support for Democrats plunges. Then as people realize that this time there isn’t going to be a cave, it rises again.

    I know that a lot of the time when folk on the edges are saying that their party needs to move to their side to pick up support it is really wishful thinking. I don’t think that the GOP would gain anything if it moved further to the right, they already have the senile white racist vote all sewn up. But in this particular case the policies the Democrats are defending are massively popular in the country, the policies the Republicans really support are desperately unpopular. So standing firm really does increase support for Democrats.

    Unlike Digby, I don’t think that there is an entitlements cave on the way. In the first place it isn’t a ‘cave’ when that is what Obama wants to do. But more importantly I don’t think there is real support among Republicans for cutting entitlements. They are only interested in cutting support that might improve the lives of black folk living in their part of the country and that is not to save money, its to make their racist supporters happy that black folk aren’t getting something they are not.

    The more interesting thing to look at is what happens next year when people start benefiting from Obamacare. They are concentrated in the Southern states and they know that the Republicans opposed their getting health care tooth and nail, shutting down the government and threatening to bankrupt it to get their way. I have not done the math yet but I will bet there are enough Obamacare winners who voted Republican last time round to flip the house.

  14. zorbear says:

    Would I do that?

  15. nicho says:

    The corporatist media can remediate this in about three weeks of misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies.

  16. pappyvet says:


  17. Thom Allen says:

    We need to remind them repeatedly of the Republicon treachery. That even many of the sitting Republicons didn’t want the shutdown to conclude with the inability to pay bills. Remind then the the Kochs backed off, Pat Robertson decried it, many Republicon pundits followed suit. How it cost the US billions, how almost a million people were furloughed, how South Dakota ranchers got screwed, how the US was an international laughing stock and all of the other consequences of this Rpublicon stunt that even Republicons said that they knew they couldn’t win. So billions of dollars wasted for a stage show.

  18. mirror says:

    I agree about voter attention span. As long as the GOP has they have their more powerful “centrist” and conservative media machine, recent evidencee suggests strongly that they can keep bringing people back around.

    And all this stuff about how the GOP have hurt themselves seems misguided to me. It appears to me they have been winning steadily many core areas. How can their turning the sequestration budget into the starting point (!) for budget negotiations not be considered a huge victory?

  19. cole3244 says:

    you’re overly generous.

  20. Thom Allen says:

    Is that a reference to Trump and Palin’s hair?

  21. BeccaM says:

    Sure, whatever. Just as long as we all recognize that the center of the Democratic party is where the Republicans were 20-30 years ago.

  22. Matt Rogers says:

    Notice, though, that the Y axis of this chart doesn’t start with 0% but with 30%. Likewise, the Y axis ends at 50%, which may be unrealistically low. Hence, the difference of about 6% between parties looks very large, when in fact it’s rather moderate. Granted, the Democratic party gradually lost ground and then regained it quickly, but the graph exaggerates the size of the changes. I usually see such misleading graphics, sometimes called “wow charts,” on conservative websites or in conservative publications, but this one was on Huffpost Pollster.

  23. cole3244 says:

    how about dems & lib dems.

  24. silas1898 says:

    Enraged Teabaggers need to organize their primary challenges now if they have any hope of taking the country back. heh heh. I hope they follow through on these primary threats.

    If a similar spectacle occurs in January with the same result, it will drive them over the edge, further bumping up those Democratic numbers – which are sure to drop some.

    OT – Gasoline price is now the lowest since early 2011

  25. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, but the American voters have the attention span of a narcoleptic ferret on meth. By the time the midterm elections roll around next year this will be barely a blip on people’s radars when they go to the polls. Especially Republican voters who are always looking for any excuse to forgive their abusers. Even if we end up going through this all over again in three months time, like the Cruz Carnival is demanding, we can only pray that it will spur voters to the polls to try and correct the anomaly, instead of drive them away in disgust.

  26. bkmn says:

    Oh sure…another liberal media biased poll, like in NJ….oh wait…

  27. zorbear says:

    Wigged-out party, maybe…

  28. BeccaM says:

    Yeah. I want to see “Democrats (the conservative party” versus “Progressives (the liberal party)”

    With the Republicans as well remembered as the Whig party.

  29. cole3244 says:

    i long for the day when the gop are not on any charts, i will accept nothing less.

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