CNN released a new poll last week with some interesting numbers. For example, pollsters asked whether it would be good or bad for the country that Republicans will control the U.S. House of Representatives: 51 percent said it will be good, 42 percent said it will be bad.
That would seem to be pretty good news for the GOP. However, CNN also asked a similar question in 2006, when Democrats took over the House. Four years ago, 67 percent said the Democratic takeover would be good for the country, and only 24 percent said it would be bad. So voters are a lot less optimistic about the impact of GOP control.
But that’s just liberal CNN, right? Well, not quite. It turns out that CNN also asked that question after the 1994 takeover of the House by Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. In that poll, 50 percent of Americans said the GOP takeover would be good for the country, while just 26 percent said it would be bad.
So it seems that House Republicans in 2011 face an unusual amount of public skepticism about their leadership.
The latest CNN poll also asked voters whether they hoped President Obama’s policies would succeed or fail. Overall, 61 percent said they hoped his policies would succeed; 27 percent admitted they hoped his policies failed. The breakdown by party affiliation was stark:
Republicans are rooting against Obama’s success (27/61 percent) while the country as a whole is rooting for him by an identical margin (61/27 percent). (The breakdown by region was also interesting. The percentage hoping that Obama’s policies would work was by far lowest in the South (52 percent).)
That raises an obvious question: How do Republican hopes for an Obama failure compare to Democratic hopes for a failure by President Bush? I dug around a bit, and discovered that in August 2006, Fox News pollsters had asked that very question.
– Jay Bookman