Evidence keeps mounting that the effort launched today by RNC chairman Reince Priebus to reshape the Republican party’s messaging is certainly needed.
A new poll for the Hill newspaper finds that “more voters trust the Democratic Party than the Republican Party on budgetary issues . . . even though a strong majority actually prefer Republican fiscal policies.”
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken last week by Pulse Opinion Research. It asked respondents to choose between two different budget approaches without their being identified with a particular party. A total of 55 percent picked a plan similar to the one offered by House budget chairman Paul Ryan: Trimming federal spending by $5 trillion, not raising taxes, and reaching a balanced budget at the end of a decade. Only 28 percent of those surveyed went for a plan similar to that presented by Senate budget chairman Patty Murray last week, which would raise taxes by $1 trillion, add $100 billion in infrastructure spending, and reduce the deficit but not wipe it out.
Even Democrats demonstrated that they prefer what are normally considered GOP budget ideas. Only 44 percent of Democrats polled said deficits should be primarily reduced mostly through raising taxes, versus 40 percent who felt it should be done largely by trimming spending.
That’s the good news for the GOP. The bad news was that, when the two competing budget plans had the labels “Republican” and “Democrat” attached to them, there was a clear change in preference. A full 35 percent of respondents backed the Democrat plan in that case, while only 30 percent trusted the GOP more (the rest said they trusted neither party).
The survey also confirmed that Obamacare remains unpopular: 45 percent of those polled want it repealed root-and-branch; only 37 percent want it fully implemented. But Republicans have done little to convince voters they have a realistic path toward repeal, one more reason many voters express frustration with the GOP brand.