Evidence of the Republican party's branding problem continues to pile up in a new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal. And for those who want the GOP to dig in its heels and fight on the fiscal cliff, the news is even worse.
The survey – conducted a month after November’s election – also shows a positive uptick in opinion toward President Barack Obama, and more negative views about defeated GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. The poll also finds that a majority of Americans now support gay marriage.[...]
But if Obama is getting a lift after the election, the Republican Party is seeing a further decline.
The GOP’s favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll now stands at 30 percent/45 percent (minus-15 points), which is down from 36 percent/43 percent (minus-7) right before the election.
That’s compared with the Democratic Party’s 44 percent/35 percent rating (plus-9 points).
What’s more, asked to give a word or short phrase to describe the Republican Party, 65 percent offered a negative comment, including more than half of Republicans.
Some of the responses: “Bad,” “weak,” “negative,” “uncompromising,” “need to work together,” “broken,” “disorganized” and “lost.”
The Washington Post is even more brutal in its summary of the findings of the poll:
The poll tested the positive and negative ratings for 11 politicians or political institutions. The lowest rated — in terms of the differential between positive and negative ratings — was the Republican Party, with a 30 percent positive score and a 45 percent negative score. Of the five worst positive-to-negative ratios, Republicans claimed four of them. (The lone exception: Susan Rice with a 20 positive/24 percent net-negative score.) [...]
What those numbers make clear is that the Republican brand is badly damaged. It is regarded by too many people as an uncompromising relic of the past — a party that lacks new ideas and is, therefore, forced to largely serve as a blockade to the other side. (That’s the biggest reason, by the way, why Republicans should be interested in compromising on the fiscal cliff. They gap between how Obama is regarded and how they are seen is enough to make going over the cliff a genuine political loser for them.)
Republicans have and will continue to insist that they have put out new ideas, but the reality is that the American public doesn’t perceive them that way.
There is a silver lining for Republicans, however, in that if the fiscal cliff were to be reached with no compromise, they and the President would get an equal amount of blame. However, given their inferior standing in the polls relative to the President, the same amount of blame would likely hurt them more. Moreover, the NBC/WSJ poll is an outlier compared to other polls, which show the GOP taking most of the blame if fiscal cliff negotiations fall through.
However, the long-term perception of the GOP as an outdated party may not persist. As the Washington Post notes:
The good news for Republicans is that some of the party’s brand issues may well take care of themselves. Mitt Romney is headed off the national stage at lightning speed and is being replaced by the likes of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who not only look different than the Republican stereotype (Rubio is Latino, Jindal is Indian-American) but are also of a different generation (both men are in the early 40s) than most of the current national leaders of the Republican Party.
Nevertheless, ideas matter, and if this perception is to be changed, the Republican party quite arguably needs to start right now.