DENVER – Republicans facing criticism for their opposition to much of President Obama’s agenda will find a bright spot in a new survey. A plurality of independent voters say it is more important Republicans in Congress stick to their values than it is to work with President Obama.
By a 45 to 42 percent margin, independent respondents to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll said compromise with the White House should take a back seat to standing up for GOP principles.
The margin was, not unexpectedly, much wider among Republican respondents. But the survey suggested that rank-and-file GOP voters weren’t terribly happy with their party’s efforts in Congress either.
When asked “Over the past several years, have Republicans in Congress done a good job of representing Republican values? Or, have Republicans in Congress lost touch with Republican voters?”, just 24 percent Republican respondents said that the GOP Congress had done a “good job” representing party values, compared to 65 percent who said Republicans in Congress have “lost touch with GOP voters”. Another 11 percent said they were unsure.
The survey also suggested that the vast majority of Republicans want party leaders to take a hard line when it comes to dealing with the White House, with 80 percent of Republican respondents saying it is more important for the GOP to stand for what it believes in, compared to just 17 percent who said the party should prioritize working with President Obama.
By comparison, most Democrat poll respondents were more satisfied with their representation. Roughly 6 in 10 Democrats surveyed (59 percent) said Democrats in Congress have “done a good job representing Democratic values”, while just over 3 in 10 (34 percent) said Congressional Democrats had “lost touch with Democratic voters.”
GOP leaders have faced criticism this year on several fronts from the party’s more conservative rank-and-file.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) came under fire earlier this year when 85 Republicans joined with 172 Democrats to push a tax hike though the Republican-led House of Representatives as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff compromise”, prompting a short-lived attempt by a handful of House Republicans to oust Boehner from the Speaker’s post.
Conservatives have also been critical of comprehensive immigration legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), which would grant immediate legal status to an estimated 11 million undocumented foreigners, make sweeping changes to U.S. immigration law, and authorize increased spending on border security in the future.
Just 14 of the U.S. Senate’s 46 Republicans supported Rubio’s legislation, which cleared the Democrat-controlled upper chamber in June.
Establishment Republicans have also clashed with the party faithful over whether or not to block funding for Obamacare.
“The problem right now is we don’t have Republicans willing to stand up and do this,” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a primary architect of the de-funding effort, recently told radio host Andrea Tantaros.
“We need 41 Republicans in the Senate or 218 Republicans in the House, to stand together, to join me, to join [Utah Senator] Mike Lee, to join Marco Rubio, all of whom have said, we will not vote for a single continuing resolution that funds even a penny of ObamaCare,” Cruz added.
“It’s no secret that Republican leadership has struggled to deliver on some of the issues important to conservatives,” said one GOP operative who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But let’s not forget it’s President Obama and Harry Reid that are to blame for our struggling economy. Right now is the time to step up and confront Obama and Reid over their failed policies”
The Rasmussen Reports national survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted between August 11 and August 12, and has a + / – 3 percentage point margin of error.