The latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released late yesterday, includes quite a bit of bad news for congressional Republicans, as they continue to resist compromising in the fiscal talks they initiated. Indeed, the poll shows the GOP on the wrong side of just about every issue.
But looking through the internals (pdf), something else jumped out at me: Republicans are really unpopular. I put together this chart pointing to favorability ratings throughout 2012 for President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party.
Note that the figures were fairly consistent throughout the year, but as 2012 draws to a close, it's the president and his party that are on the upswing, while it's the GOP that's faltering.
What's more, that's where things stand now -- it's likely attitudes towards Republicans will get worse if GOP lawmakers refuse to strike a fiscal agreement and begin 2013 by threatening to hurt Americans on purpose in a new debt-ceiling crisis.
At this point, only two groups of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party: rural Americans and white Southerners. That's it. That's not exactly a recipe for a competitive national party in the 21st century.
Wait, it gets worse.
When the poll asked respondents, "When you think about the Democratic Party what word or short phrase would you use to describe the Democratic Party?" the results were roughly split between positive and negative words, 35% to 37%. When asked, "When you think about the Republican Party what word or short phrase would you use to describe the Republican Party?" the results were one-sided -- 17% volunteered positive words, while 65% used negative words.
Among self-identified Republican voters, the most common responses when asked about their own party was "broken," "lost," and "weak."
In theory, this should motivate Republican leaders to be more constructive and responsible, but all available evidence suggests they intend to do the exact opposite.