On of the credos of the republican party has historically been that polls don’t matter, and that real politicians don’t pay attention to them. Perhaps the more accurate statement would be that real UNSUCCESSFUL politicians don’t pay attention to polls.
It also seems that the more extremist right wing these politicians become, the more they ignore what the polls are telling them and in fact everyone about their activities and behaviors when those activities and behaviors start becoming less and less popular among the average American voter.
Take, for instance, the recent US government shutdown and the idiotic flirtation with the debt ceiling limit by the GOP-controlled US House of Representatives, and more specifically, by the Tea Party faction of the GOP.
The republican party claimed it was doing what it was going to do because the people of the USA, based upon polls (which republicans historically don’t believe in!), were against Obamacare and “wanted it repealed”. Of course, what republicans were not telling the American people was that as of September 29th, 2013, an CNN/ORC poll showed that only 39% of Americans were against Obamacare in any form and 38% favored it, while another 11% were against it because it doesn’t go far enough! So at least 49% either favored it or wanted it to be stronger! That’s not the same thing as wanting it repealed, but the GOP couldn’t be bothered with such minute polling details.
The government shutdown took effect on October 1st and multiple national polls showed that Americans blamed the GOP much more than they blamed president Obama or the democrats for the shutdown, even though the GOP tried hard to make it sound like it wasn’t their fault. Only the low-information citizen was convinced. The more informed, intelligent and educated American was paying attention and knew where the blame lay. As of October 20th, 2013, the same CNN/ORC poll showed that the percent of Americans against Obamacare had dropped to 38% while the percent of those that either favored it or wanted it strengthened rose to a whopping 53%!!
As bad as these numbers indicated the GOP was misinterpreting the mood of the country and overplaying their hand while sailing on taking Ted Cruz’s “Strategic Cruise To Nowhere”, they continued to ignore those polls much like a person ignoring a 4-inch growth on the extreme right side of their nose.
The second week of the shutdown/debt limit ceiling confrontation ended and the debt limit ceiling drop dead date of October 17th began to loom a lot closer than anyone thought congress was crazy enough to allow it to. The polls clearly showed that 75% of Americans did NOT want the nation to drive over the default cliff and DID want the debt ceiling increased prior to the default date. Moderate republicans smelled their own blood in the water and broke away, but the more fanatical Tea Party lunatic fringe, with Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and a cast of selfish idiots was in control of the republicans in the House of Representatives.
As the deadline approached and it became clear that the House of Representatives could not pass a republicans-only bill on the debt-ceiling-limit increase, the senate took over, passed a clean bill, sent it over to the House and it passed with 198 democratic votes and 87 ? yea votes from republicans.
But 144 republicans voted NO! They voted to not raise the debt ceiling and thus, not allow the US treasury to raise the money needed to pay for all the goods and services the congress has already appropriated money for and spent. In other words, they voted to not pay bills for goods and items already bought. By them.
Interestingly, the entire republican congressional delegation from Texas, where Ted Cruz is from, voted no. These people, along with those listed about and others like Mike Lee from Utah form the core of the more radical extremists in the tea party movement. They did not care who suffered as a result of the government shutdown or the flirt with the government debt default and in fact, they are totally without remorse for the damage they have done to anyone and anything, including their own party. In fact the refuse to acknowledge any damage, even thought the latest polls show that the nation thinks that the nation is worse off with a House of Representatives controlled by republicans:
Put another way, none other than a Fox News Poll on October 23rd found that 75% disapprove of republicans in congress and only 20% approve.
And finally, In what one might call the “reality check” that the tea party loves to ignore, when asked in a CNN/ORC poll if having a GOP-controlled House of Representatives was good or bad for the USA:
Tea Party: Keep doing what you’re doing.
For the rest of us: Com’n, November 2014!!!!!!!!! 🙂