Sabotage?

In its most recent poll of Florida voters, Suffolk University asked respondents about the Republican Party’s relationship to President Obama. Did Floridians see the Republican Party as deliberately harming efforts to improve the economy in order to boost their election chances? According to the survey, a whopping 49 percent said yes, “they believe that the Republicans were intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that Barack Obama would not be reelected.” The partisan gap was large –- 70 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agreed with the statement, while 24 percent of Republicans disagreed.

The Washington Post and ABC News asked a similar question in its most recent poll of voters and got similar results. Here’s the question:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view? Statement A: (President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.) Or Statement B: (President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job.)

Fifty percent said that Obama was making a good effort, while 44 percent said that he wasn’t providing leadership. Greg Sargent drilled down in the data and found that independents favor statement one over statement two by 54-40, while moderates favored it by 57-37.

The Washington Post question is much less direct than the Suffolk University one, so it tells us a little less about how respondents view GOP actions. Even still, both polls provide an early sign that the Republican strategy of categorical opposition might backfire when voters actually have to make a choice between the two parties.

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