Feature

The brutal government shutdown poll the GOP didn't want to see

It's official: The shutdown is destroying the Republican Party brand

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday evening paints a bleak picture for the Republican Party: Americans blame the GOP for the government shutdown by a wide, 22-point margin over President Obama.

To rub salt in the wound, a measly 24 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the GOP — a historic low for the NBC/WSJ poll.

The news comes as House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), marched to the White House to present their plan to end the stalemate, which would entail raising the debt ceiling for six weeks and locking Obama into negotiations over the budget. Under the plan, the government shutdown would remain in place.

The delegation left the White House without a deal, which has been widely seen as an indication that Obama is not backing down from his demand that Congress both lift the debt ceiling and open the government for business — with no strings attached.

The brutal poll will only put more steel in the spines at the White House. Indeed, it appeared to mark a turning point in the debate, the starkest evidence to date that the GOP is badly losing the argument over the shutdown. Anti-shutdown conservatives on Twitter are vocally bemoaning the extensive, self-inflicted damage done to the party in the space of a mere week.

More really, really bad news for the GOP in the NBC/WSJ poll:

And one year until next fall's midterm elections, American voters prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress to a Republican-controlled one by eight percentage points (47 percent to 39 percent), up from the Democrats' three-point advantage last month (46 percent to 43 percent).

What's more, Obama's political standing has remained relatively stable since the shutdown, with his approval rating ticking up two points since last month, and with the Democratic Party's favorability rating declining just three points (from 42 percent to 39 percent).

"If it were not so bad for the country, the results could almost make a Democrat smile," says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

"These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone deaf; they are stone deaf." [NBC News]

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