We’ve been told almost daily by the Obama team and its media comrades that the Republicans are unlikable, lack ideas, and are torn apart by internal divisions. Yet the Holy Grail of politics — the independent vote — seems to be drifting toward the GOP. National Journal (h/t Red State) reports:
Three recent polls show the GOP gaining ground on the generic ballot question, starting with an NPR survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D) that put the two parties exactly square: 42 percent for each. Independents, however, preferred the GOP, 39-30. Democrats led slightly overall, but trailed even worse among independents, in a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll out last week that phrased the generic ballot question in terms of curtailing Democratic power.
The latest Diageo/Hotline data gives Dems a little more breathing room, with the generic Democrat leading 37-32. But the trend line was clear: In January, 46 percent favored the generic Democrat; at the beginning of March, 40 percent did so. Independent voters, who at the beginning of March favored Democrats by 3 points, now lean towards Republicans by the same margin.
It might be that independent voters think back fondly on the days of divided government, when gridlock protected them from political extremism and the passage of every bad idea that popped onto the majority party’s agenda. It may be that all that spending and debt really has rubbed them the wrong way. Or maybe all that “We won, lock out the Republicans” stuff isn’t what they had in mind.
But it is worth noting that the president’s popularity, at least for now, isn’t helping his congressional allies. In fact, the party most vigorously opposing him is gaining ground. Perhaps that means something.