A new poll released today by The Hill finds broad support for the Republican position on the budget, until the word "Republican" is attached to that position. By a 2-1 margin, voters support the Ryan budget plan over the plan offered by Obama and the Democrats. That support, however, is on the details of the plan. Once the brand, "Republican" is attached to it, support evaporates.
When asked who they most trust on the budget, a plurality, 35%, say the Democrats. 34% say they don't trust either party, while just 30% say the trust the Republicans. In other words, Republicans come in third on a two-option question.
Almost two-thirds of voters, 65%, believe the budget should be balanced by cutting spending, rather than raising taxes. 88% of Republicans hold this view, as well as 40% of Democrats. Indeed, only 44% of Democrats believe the budget should be balanced with tax increases, the core position of Obama and national Democrats.
In other words, voters support the Republican position, but not the Republican party.
This morning, the RNC released its long-awaited "autopsy" of party reforms necessary to prevent a repeat of its election losses in 2012. As befits something written by DC GOP insiders, it advises the party to "moderate" many of its positions. Although the party won Independents last November, it believes there is still ground to gain by chasing the mythical "center" of the electorate.
As The Hill poll shows, however, the party has already won the policy debate. It is continuing to lose the political debate, however. The voters simply don't trust the Republicans to stick to their policies. Words can't fix that.
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