Friday, August 12, 2011

Tea Party Going Sour?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 10:32 AM

It appears that voters are experiencing some buyer's remorse with the Tea Party Congress. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling notes that John Boehner is now as unpopular as Nancy Pelosi:

I think most national pundits continue to be missing the boat on how possible it is that Democrats will retake control of the House next year. We find Democrats with a 7 point lead on the generic Congressional ballot this week at 47-40. After getting demolished with independent voters last year, they now hold a slight 39-36 advantage with them. And in another contrast to 2010 Democratic voters are actually slightly more unified than Republicans, with 83% committed to supporting the party's Congressional candidates compared to 80% in line with theirs.

This poll is certainly not an outlier. We have looked at the generic ballot 11 times going back to the beginning of March and Democrats have been ahead every single time, by an average margin of about 4 points. This 7 point advantage is the largest Democrats have had and if there was an election today I'm think that they'd take back the House. Of course there's plenty of time between now and next November for the momentum to shift back in the other direction.

There's little doubt that Democrats are winning the fallout of the debt debate. Approval for Congressional Republicans has now plunged to a 25/65 spread. That's a 21 point decline on the margin from when they started the year at 33/52. Last year independent voters were the driving factor behind the GOP retaking the House majority. Now they give it a 20/68 approval rating.

It's early- but it looks very plausible that we could be back to Speaker Pelosi 17 months from now.

This mirrors other polls that we've seen since the debt-ceiling debacle—for example, a plunge in the GOP's congressional approval ratings.

As Jensen points out above, the 2012 election is a loooong time from now (and redistricting will play a big role), but if there's a takeaway from these numbers for Arizona Democrats, it's this: Get some strong candidates ready, especially against Rep. Paul Gosar.

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