Nobody likes a troublemaker.
The Americans who feel more alienated by the Republican Party since last November overwhelming see the GOP’s top priority as causing political headaches for President Obama ““ more than jobs, cutting the debt, reducing health care costs, or anything else.
That’s the finding from combining two earlier poll results earlier this week in the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
The first of those surveys showed that a plurality of Americans, 32 percent, believe the GOP’s highest priority is causing headaches for President Obama.
The second showed that twice as many American believed the Republican Party had drifted further from representing their views (32 percent) since last November than those who believe the party now more closely reflects them (16 percent).
But it is the overlap of those two poll results that could be particularly distressing for GOP leaders. By a large margin, those who believe that the Republican Party’s chief priority is “causing political problems” for Obama believe the party is moving further away from “representing their views.”
Almost half, 48 percent, of those surveyed who said that Republicans had moved further from them also said the GOP’s top priority was antagonizing Obama. In other words, taking a hardline, anti-Obama posture ““ when the public identifies that as the Republican Party’s chief motivation ““ appears to be turning off Americans.
It is a particularly acute problem as the government enters its fourth day of its first shutdown in 17 years. In the last 100 hours, Democrats have accused Republicans at every turn of shuttering the government as a way to antagonize Obama and undermine his signature health care law.
But if there are warning signs for Republicans in being seen as the antagonizers-in-chief, there is an opportunity to be had as the party of reducing the debt. Among those who said the party had moved closer to them, a plurality of 35 percent credited reducing the debt as the GOP’s number one priority.
It boils down to this: A plurality of those who feel more alienated by the GOP see the party chiefly as antagonizing the president while a plurality of those who feel closer to the party see Republicans as the party of reducing the debt.
The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, interviewed 1,005 adults between Sept. 25 and 29, via landline and cell phone. The overall margin of error is 3.7 percentage points, but subgroups have greater margins of error.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."