No one is Mr. Popular in Washington these days. Only 43 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's handling of the debt-ceiling crisis, according to a CBS News poll. Still, compare that with the 31 percent who are happy with congressional Democrats' performance on the issue, and the measly 21 percent who are pleased with the GOP's conduct. What do these "dismal" numbers say about the testy negotiations on raising the debt limit and cutting the deficit?
1. Republicans are losing the debt-ceiling debate
The main takeaway here is that while the debate isn't over and "no one is winning," says Mark Murray at MSNBC, "one side is certainly losing: congressional Republicans." GOP leaders might want to consider the gap between their disapproval rating on the issue — 71 percent — and Obama's — 48 percent — as they consider whether to make a deal before the government runs out of money to cover its financial obligations on Aug. 2.
2. Americans want Congress to stop bickering and fix things
Voters just want the leaders they elected to set their differences aside for the sake of "averting disaster" and "you know... fix it," says Kyle Leighton at Talking Points Memo. Other polls suggest Americans aren't certain exactly what sort of a solution they want, but it's pretty clear they "want a deal. And most want a balanced deal with more cuts than new revenues."
3. CBS is shilling for Democrats
"This poll is a complete waste of time," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. CBS gave Democrats 10 percent more weight in the group of people it polled and — surprise, surprise — congressional Democrats' approval rating was 10 percent higher than that of Republicans. The only thing this "egregious" bit of polling malpractice proves is that "CBS tried very hard to get a sample that would support its preconceived," pro-Obama notion of the debate.
4. The Tea Party overplayed its hand
"The bottom line is that the Republican Party is now rebranding itself — big time," says Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice, but Americans aren't impressed with what the GOP has come up with. "Right now it looks like Americans are increasingly concluding that the ineffective Obama brand is preferable to what they suspect is a dangerous Tea Party brand." Voters might "accept a GOP that has the Tea Party," but not "a GOP run by the Tea Party."
5. The public knows politicians are just grandstanding
"Despite their lack of confidence in their elected leaders," says Zeke Miller at Business Insider, "66 percent of voters believe a deal will be reached before Aug. 2." People recognize that the "negotiating positions" everyone keeps shouting about won't matter when the deadline gets dangerously near and everyone scrambles to make a deal.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- 10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2014
- Don't change a thing: 8 inventions that never needed updating
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week