I suspect Republican officials, especially in Washington, had high hopes about the latest batch of polls. After all, the Beltway has embraced "scandal mania" in recent weeks, subjecting President Obama to near-constant criticism, even though the controversies don't relate to him directly.
But with several new national polls released this week -- CNN, Pew Research Center, USA Today, Washington Post/ABC News -- there's very little good news for Republicans. On the contrary, it seems the party's lack of popularity is preventing Republicans from taking advantage of the larger scandal-generated opportunities.
This chart, for example, shows the results from the CNN poll, which asked respondents for their general attitudes towards the two major political parties. For Democrats, support is up, and a 52% majority has a favorable opinion of the party. For Republicans, support is down, and a 59% majority has a unfavorable opinion of the party.
Adding insult to injury, the GOP's standing in the poll is at its third-lowest point since CNN started doing polls a couple of decades years ago.
In the Washington Post/ABC News poll, respondents were asked whether Congress is concentrating on issues that are important to them personally. While 43% said congressional Democrats are focused on the correct priorities, only 33% said the same about congressional Republicans.
Meanwhile, President Obama's approval rating is up to 53% in the CNN poll, up to 51% in the Post/ABC poll, and up to 53% in the USA Today poll. (The Pew Research poll did not publish a presidential approval rating.)
It's worth emphasizing that much of this week's polling was on the major controversies of the day -- last September's violence in Benghazi, the IRS scrutiny of tax-exempt groups, and the subpoenas of Associated Press reporters -- and opinions vary widely in the various surveys. The one constant is predictable: those predisposed to like the president largely believe him and are uninterested in the "scandals," while those predisposed to oppose the president believe the worst and are deeply interested in the "scandals."
This isn't what Republicans were hoping for, either. The more the recent messes are seen as partisan food-fights in Washington, the less the GOP can exploit the controversies for partisan gain.
As for why the president's support is unexpectedly buoyant in so many polls, Nate Silver makes a compelling case that it's the improving economy that's giving Obama a boost.
I'm sure there's something to that argument, but Dems shouldn't get cocky. For one thing, sequestration will continue to serve as a drag on the recovery, and there's very little the White House can do about it. For another, "scandal mania" may have left the president unscathed for now, but that may not last indefinitely.