As the fallout from the 2014 midterms settles, polls are starting to show that the voting public is relieved that Republicans are set to wrest control of one full branch of government from the Democratic Party.
Ed Morrissey’s dissection of two recent Gallup polls paints a clear picture of an electorate which is contented that the GOP will again be in the driver’s seat of government. One Gallup survey found that voters prefer Republicans in Congress rather than President Barack Obama “lead the U.S.” by 17 points. Another poll found the public’s favorability toward the Democratic “brand” has sunk to an all-time low of just 36 percent.
These polls are no outliers. The results of a post-election Pew Research Center poll confirm that the public wants to see the president compromise with the newly ascendant GOP.
Pew found that a large plurality of the public is happy the GOP won control of the Senate. By 48 to 38 percent, the public is enthusiastic that the Democrats will no longer control the legislative branch in 2015.
While Pew found the public evenly split on whether they support the policy prescriptions embraced by Republican congressional leadership (44 percent approve while 43 percent disapprove), this pollster backed up Gallup’s results when they found the public largely wants the GOP to dictate the agenda in Washington.
41 percent of survey respondents believe congressional Republicans should “take the lead in solving the nation’s problems” while only 40 percent said the same of Barack Obama. In 2010, following the Democrats’ “shellacking,” 49 percent of respondents wanted Obama to retain his leadership role while just 30 percent said the GOP should be driving the agenda.
“On several specific issues, more prefer the approach offered by congressional Republicans than President Obama, although a sizable share sees little difference between the two sides,” Pew’s release read. “Across nine issues tested, Obama has a clear advantage over congressional Republicans on only one: 35% say he has the better approach on the environment, while just 20% prefer the Republican approach; 41% think there is not much difference between the two.”
Throughout Pew’s release, there is a discernible effort to deemphasize the scale of the political reversal its own poll revealed. While the public has little faith in the ability of either party’s representatives to craft and pass a positive agenda, it is clear the public has lost a great deal of faith in the president and his party and regained some in Republicans.
These two surveys clearly show that the Republican Party has a mandate to govern, despite the assertions of some pundits to the contrary. Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate that they can competently steer the ship of state, but these polls also show that the public’s support is fluid and the GOP could lose the public’s support as quickly as they’ve reclaimed it.