Republicans’ Troublemaker Reputation Turning Voters Off

United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds most people who feel alienated by the GOP think the party’s main goal is to antagonize Obama.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) (L), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (2L) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) (R) listen while Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) speak to the press with other House Republican conferees on Capitol Hill October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. The US government is in a forced shutdown after lawmakers failed to pass a spending bill last night. 
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
Oct. 4, 2013, 10:36 a.m.

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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