Noteworthy in that it contradicts the least believable result from the big WSJ/NBC poll . That one had Obama’s overall job approval increasing slightly after the shutdown, from 45/50 to 47/48. Not so, says, ABC/WaPo, which puts public approval of how he’s handling budget talks down from net -5 a week ago to -11 now. That’s right in line with Gallup, which has his overall job approval today at 41/53 or -12. (Overall job approval and approval on the specific issue of budget negotiations are two different things, but since the latter’s consumed the news for the past two weeks, it seems like a reasonable proxy for the former.) On the other hand, the most recent Rasmussen poll has Obama at 48/50, which is in line with the WSJ/NBC result. Hard to tell who’s right, but given that shutdowns tend to drag everyone in government down with them, I assume ABC and Gallup are closer to the mark. The RCP poll average, not surprisingly, is right in between at -6.4 points as I write this; for what it’s worth, O was at -7.4 in RCP on September 27, a few days before the shutdown began. If you believe the poll average, he’s actually gained negligibly since it began.
As for the GOP, nothing surprising. Here’s the result when people were asked whether they approve or disapprove of how each of the three major players are handling budget talks:
They’ve gone from -37 two weeks ago, just before the shutdown began, to -46 a week ago to -53 now, a rate of loss that exceeds Obama’s even though he has much farther to fall. By comparison, disapproval of congressional Democrats hasn’t moved at all over the past week (although approval is down two points, leaving them at net -2 overall). These numbers are, in fact, similar to what WSJ/NBC found when it asked people whether they approve or disapprove of the overall job that congressional Republicans and Democrats are doing. For the GOP, that number was 24/70; for Democrats, it was 36/59. No one’s coming out smelling like a rose here, but needless to say, if your strategy is premised upon generating a groundswell of opposition to ObamaCare in order to force Obama to defund it, the fact that the anti-ObamaCare party has the lowest job approval of all three parties means there isn’t much pressure on O.
No secret as to why it’s the lowest either. Very simply, the GOP is split in a way that Democratic voters aren’t. Note the breakdown in the table above among “somewhat conservative” and “very conservative” voters. Net approval of congressional Republicans on budget talks among the “very conservative” bounced from net -7 two weeks ago to +3 last week as the House GOP followed through on a shutdown to -2 now as they’ve inched towards a deal. Among “somewhat conservative” voters, it’s dropped from -21 two weeks ago to -39 after the shutdown began to -36 today — again, probably because there are signs of a deal, a result which more moderate conservatives support. I wish there was a follow-up question probing how many people in each of those categories disapprove because they think Boehner and McConnell have gone too far versus not far enough. The media likes to pretend that tea partiers/the “very conservative” are monolithic in wanting the GOP to accept nothing short of defunding ObamaCare, come what may. I have my doubts — again, 45 percent of the “very conservative” disapproved of congressional Republicans even after they’d stood firm and shut the government down last week — but there’s no way to know without numbers. Interesting, though, that even among the “very conservative,” approval of Obama’s handling of talks stands at 23/76. The opposite demographic, i.e. liberals’ approval of the GOP in Congress, is just 11/87. Hmmmm.