From a new Pew Research Center poll, conducted October 9-13, 2013 among a national sample of 1,504 adults:
Despite deep frustration with national conditions, the public’s views of Washington political leaders have shown only modest changes since before the government shutdown began. Approval ratings for President Obama (43% approve), Democratic congressional leaders (31%) and GOP leaders (20%) all are at or near all-time lows, yet are not substantially more negative than they were in early September, a month before the shutdown started.
Republicans continue to get more blame than the Obama administration for Washington’s fiscal policy stalemate, but the balance of opinion has not changed in the past week. In the new survey, 46% say Republicans are more to blame for the deadlock in Washington over the government shutdown and debt limit; 37% say the Obama administration is more to blame. A week ago, when the question asked just about responsibility for the government shutdown, the public said Republicans were more to blame, by 38% to 30%.
…An early read of voter preferences for the 2014 midterm shows that the Democrats have a six-point edge: 49% of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district, while 43% support or lean toward the Republican candidate.
In November 2009, a year before the Republicans won a House majority, Democrats held a five-point edge (47% to 42%). In September 2005, 14 months before the Democrats won a House majority for the first time in more than a decade, Democrats held a 12- point lead (52% to 40%).
The Democratic Party continues to be viewed more favorably than the Republican Party: 47% of adults have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party while 38% view the GOP favorably. As in the past, the public by wide margins views the GOP as more extreme in its positions than the Democratic Party (55% to 34%) and less willing to work with its political opponents (32% say the Republican Party, 50% the Democrats).
…Just 20% approve of how Republican leaders in Congress are handling their jobs, while a record-high 72% disapprove. Yet, the change from a month ago, when 24% approved and 68% disapproved is modest, and current ratings are not far from where they have been for much of the past year…n Obama’s case, only Republicans rate his job performance lower today than a month ago.
With just a 20% approval rating, Republican leaders in Congress trail not only the president but also their Democratic counterparts (31% approve). This difference is driven mainly by the relatively high levels of criticism from Republicans themselves. Just 42% of Republicans approve of how GOP leaders in Congress are doing their jobs. By comparison, among Democrats, 60% approve of Democratic congressional leaders, and 79% approve of the president’s job performance.
…The Democratic Party continues to be seen as more willing to work with the opposing party than Republicans (50%-32%), and far more say the GOP is more extreme in its positions than the Democratic Party (55%-34%).
…More than a year ahead of the 2014 midterm congressional elections, Democrats hold a slim edge over Republicans. Overall, 49% of registered voters say that if the elections for Congress were being held today, they would vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate in their district, 43% say they would vote for the Republican candidate.
…Democratic voters are slightly more likely than Republicans to say that their own representative should be reelected: 47% of Republican voters and 54% of Democratic voters favor their own representative’s reelection, as do 43% of independent voters.
…Currently, just 38% of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party while 58% have an unfavorable opinion.
…The Democratic Party continues to receive better ratings than the GOP, with about as many offering a favorable (47%) as an unfavorable (48%) opinion. Democratic Party favorability had also fallen to a low of 41% in July, and has returned to a roughly even divide that is consistent with polling over the past few years.
If anyone needed further verification that GOP economic brinksmanship is steering their party towards defeat in 2014, this Pew poll should do nicely.