Not a total disaster — an angry 19 percent can decide a lot of close races if it comes mostly from independents — but not quite the national upswell of outrageous outrage we dreamed of. In fact, Ed and I were debating over e-mail just a few days ago whether this story would have legs. He took the optimistic view, I (of course) the pessimistic one. Advantage: AP?
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 61% say the job offers are a least somewhat important to how they will vote this November. However, only 32% say the issue is Very Important. That falls far below the importance attached to all 10 issues tracked regularly by Rasmussen Reports. Eighty-five percent (85%) consider the economy to be a Very Important issues. Number 10 on the list, abortion, is considered Very Important by 42%.
A plurality of voters (40%) believe that the job offers currently in the news involve both Republican and Democratic candidates. Only one-third of voters (34%) are aware that the job offers involves Democratic candidates, while seven percent (7%) say Republican candidates are involved. Nineteen percent (19%) aren’t sure.
But 44% of voters also say the job offers made to keep candidates out of closely contested state primaries are fairly typical of what politicians normally do. Just 19% say that’s not true, while 37% more are not sure…
Despite the lack of interest on a national level, voters in individual states may hear more about the issue and perceive it in different ways. Pennsylvania voters have been following the Sestak offer more closely than voters nationwide, but they appear to be even less concerned by it.
In Pennsylvania, 29 percent say the bribe is “Very Important” to how they’ll vote, but as Rasmussen notes, you have to weigh that against the umpteen other issues people also reliably list as “Very Important.” For sure, it’ll matter more there with Toomey inevitably hammering at it down the stretch, and the GOP’s bound to get some mileage out of Hopenchange turning into “politics as usual” in voters’ eyes, but if you were hoping to nationalize this meme into a general “culture of corruption” talking point for Republican congressional candidates, keep hopin’. For a slightly (but only slightly) less glum take on the poll, read Byron York, who dreams of a Republican-controlled House replete with subpoena power calling Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina onto the carpet to explain themselves. Will the GOP really care about that next year, though, especially if Toomey wins? They’ll be eager to shed the “party of no” label by passing some sort of major policy initiative (likely related to jobs); recriminations related to an already-held election will be as low on their priority list as the Sestak matter is on voters’. Verdict on the White House ever being punished for this: Pessimistic.