This number explains why GOP can’t pin the Acadia closure and vets cuts on Michaud

The number is 70%.

OK, what is this all about?

The Maine GOP is attacking Rep. Mike Michaud, the likely Democratic nominee for Governor, saying he is partly responsible for the closure of Acadia National Park and he has voted against veterans.

At times, they even say this “really shows” his “true views” toward veterans. Michaud, of course, is well known for being a champion of American veterans.

OK, but what’s 70%?

Multiple polls on the shutdown show that Americans strongly disapprove of the Republican strategy of tying government funding to defunding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The disapproval runs around 70%.

Americans remember the 21 hours Sen. Ted Cruz spent on the Senate floor on this issue. They remember the 40 plus votes to overturn the ACA. Some even know about how Republicans have been planning this strategy since January 2013.

The Republicans own this shutdown. Every poll shows that more Americans think they’re responsible than Democrats or President Obama. To be sure, 70% don’t blame Republicans. Besides those who most blame the GOP, a chunk of people blame both parties, some are undecided, and some blame Democrats. But all the polls find that Republicans are more blamed than anyone else.

Given that Michaud’s votes were cast in opposition to the strategy that 70% (nationally) dislike, he won’t take the blame for the awful consequences of the shutdown.

And, of course, Michaud has a track record and reputation, one that’s very hard to change. The Maine GOP can keep making this claim, but it won’t do more than rally their base. And that’s not nothing. But it won’t move voters to their position.

The attacks against Michaud are part of a national GOP playbook. As journalist Dave Weigel writes, “Republicans are hoping that the Democrats’ budget votes will haunt them in next year’s elections. No one is buying it.”

But do voters really blame the GOP?

Yes. And the Republican Party is suffering in public esteem. (It’s also prompting them to try to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, but that’s a topic for another time.)

My last post reviewed recent polls showing that approval of Republicans, as found by Gallup and the NBC/Wall St. Journal poll are the lowest either poll has ever found.

Obama’s approval numbers are not all that high, but he is doing far better in public esteem, when compared to public opinion toward Republicans.

Several commenters asked me about the recent AP poll that found that President Obama’s approval rating was only 37%.

Here are some things to note about it:

  1. Of the ten Obama approval polls currently posted at realclearpolitics, it’s the lowest.
  2. Not only is it the lowest, but it’s 6 percentage points below the next highest.
  3. It’s also 7.7 percentage points below the average.
  4. The same poll had Republican approval at 17%, twenty percentage points belong the president’s approval rating.

It’s clearly an outlier.

More broadly, as Republican columnist Jennifer Rubin writes:

Governing is an awesome responsibility, not an excuse for a personal joy ride, and more sober-minded leaders and members have an obligation to stand up to extremists and nuts who will do the country and the party great harm. The party at large does not think like right-wing talk show hosts, and assuming that Republicans and all voters do is a recipe for political failure.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.