Factually, Republican talking points have little to do with reality, of course. For example, concerns about the economy are declining because, as Gallup revealed yesterday, because “the economy appears to be recovering, as evidenced by positive signals such as a six-year high in Gallup’s Job Creation Index and increased consumer spending.”
Perhaps more shocking yet, concern over the federal budget and deficit are also in decline, down 3 percent since last month.
Only 3 percent of people polled say war is the most important problem facing this country today, and that is thanks to President Obama, who has kept America out of war, though concern over foreign policy/foreign aid/focus overseas has gone up, from 3 to 7 percent since last month. It is easy to see the Iraq crisis at play here, as well as Fox News’ unremitting cry for intervention and a condemnation of Obama’s sensibly cautious foreign policy.
Republicans might want to remember, as Fox News trots out the architects of that war to critique Obama, that most Americans (57 percent) now agree that the 2003 war with Iraq was a mistake. In fact, more Americans disapprove of going to war in the first place than disapprove of withdrawing our troops (34 percent). It seems unlikely then that cries for intervention will drum up votes.
But rather than overseas entanglements, it is Instead, noneconomic problems that bother most Americans:
The biggest problem according to Americans is dissatisfaction with government, including Congress, rising from 16 to 18 percent since July, with immigration coming in second, though dropping two percentage points since last month.
As Gallup pointed out just the other day, “A majority, 55%, say they strongly disapprove of Congress, while 2% strongly approve.” Two percent, yet Republicans are insisting they are doing what Americans want them to do. You can’t get more myopic than that, and the proof is in the numbers: Gallup also reveals that approval of Congress “has never been as low in a midterm election year as it is now.”
Gallup made clear yesterday that the mix of dissatisfaction with Congress and Congress unwillingness to address immigration, is toxic: “With the midterm congressional elections approaching, candidates would be wise to pay attention to these shifting priorities. In particular, Congress’ lack of action on immigration could become a major issue in the fall campaign.”
The Republican Party, by standing in opposition to so many issues Americans feel strongly about, is playing with fire. The Republican alliance with the Religious Right could backfire: though conservative preachers cite America’s moral decay, perceptions of the clergy’s own ethical standards are at an all-time low according to Gallup, down to 47 percent from a high of 67 percent in 1985, and apparently still dropping. Remember, Republicans love the misogynist, child-molesting Catholic clergy, but they hate the Pope who sounds too much like Obama.
The long-term risk of alienating millennials and a rising class of “nones” (17.8 percent in 2012 compared to David Barton’s 25 percent for Evangelicals) who are tired of the GOP’s culture war shenanigans, has been well-noted, and ethnic demographics are against the GOP as well, both serving as long-term advantages for Democrats.
And opposing things that most Americans support, like Marriage Equality and Obamacare, dramatically shrink the Republican tent on the eve of the midterms. Are they that confident of their money, or their voter suppression efforts, that they think they can with impunity spit in the face of American values?
Left-leaning voters should not underestimate conservatives. The Religious Right has been called DOA many times and risen from the ashes. Whatever the polls say, there seems to be no shortage of either money, unscrupulous and hypocritical preachers, corrupt right-wing politicians, or under-educated conservatives willing to vote against their own self-interest.