Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Opinion: Fox News to GOP: Yikes!!


The most important midterm election in U.S. history takes place six weeks from today, and a new national poll released this week by Fox News provides 10 gallons of bad news for the Republican Party crammed in a 5-gallon bucket.

On policy questions, their goals and causes are unpopular, Fox News tells us. The leading personality in the Republican Party, the man who has remade the party in his own image, is unpopular. The man whom they’re fighting to install in the U.S. Supreme Court? Unpopular.

And the reputation of the party itself has sunk dramatically.

According to Fox, just 36 percent of Americans registered to vote still believe that Republicans "love America and truly want what’s best for the country," while 52 percent say Republicans "simply want what’s best for their party, even if it hurts the country." That’s a 16-point margin.

(For comparison’s sake, 44 percent say that Democrats want what’s best for the country, while 43 percent say they put party first.)

As to other issues:

HEALTH CARE

Fox asked voters if they want to “make changes so that more people would have health insurance, even if it costs the government more money,” or whether they prefer to “reduce government spending, even if it means fewer people would have insurance.”

Sixty-five percent want government to insure more people, even if it costs us more. Just 25 percent support the GOP goal of cutting government health-insurance spending. Even among Republicans, 44 percent say they support spending more money to insure more people, while 41 percent oppose it.

TAX CUTS

Cutting taxes was supposed to serve as the centerpiece of the GOP midterm strategy, and they’ve been rewarded for that vote with multi-million-dollar campaign donations from those who benefited most from it. However, when Fox asked voters whether they themselves had seen evidence of the tax cuts in their paychecks, just 36 percent said yes; 59 percent said no.

DONALD TRUMP

Fox asked voters whether Trump cares about people like themselves. Thirty-eight percent said yes; 56 percent said no.  Among female voters, just 29 percent said that Trump cares about people like themselves, while 62 percent say he does not. Among suburban women, Trump was underwater on this question by a stunning 40-point margin.

And when asked, 29 percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who campaigned alongside Trump; 44 percent said it would make them less likely to back that candidate. (For comparison’s sake, the numbers for Obama are 43/33.)

THE WALL

Trump continues to grumble about forcing a government shutdown unless Congress agrees to fund construction of a border wall. (He has apparently given up on forcing Mexico to finance it.) According to Fox, 51 percent of registered voters oppose building the wall; 39 percent support it.

THE MUELLER PROBE

If given the chance to give a message to Robert Mueller "for the good of the country," what would voters tell him? According to Fox, 55 percent would advise Mueller to take his time and do the job right; just 36 percent endorse the demands from Trump, Rudy Giuliani and others to “wrap it up already.”

Overall, 57 percent say they support the Mueller probe; 38 percent oppose it.

BRETT KAVANAUGH

According to Fox, just 40 percent of registered voters would vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court; 50 percent would vote to reject him. Suburban women, a key voting group in the midterms, would reject Kavanaugh by 63-32 percent, a ratio of almost two-to-one.

And while Republicans are insisting on holding a vote on Kavanaugh as soon as possible and avoiding additional hearings, voters strongly disagree. Fifty-nine percent want to delay Senate confirmation to allow time for additional hearings and investigation; 31 percent want the Senate to vote without delay.

In the end, of course, what voters tell pollsters will not matter in the least. What will matter -- the only thing that matters -- is who turns out to actually vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6. However, if I’m a Republican consultant looking at numbers like these, I wouldn’t know where to turn for a winning issue.


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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.