According to a 31 August poll from Quinnipiac University,
Only 8% of Republicans approve of the job Obama is doing as president.
Only 6% of Democrats approve of the job House Republicans are doing.
That is not a big difference. And it is hardly surprising given how different are the opinions of Democrats and Republicans about what makes for good policy. But the poll gets more interesting when it comes to each party's view of their own.
86% of Democrats approve of the job Obama is doing.
23% of Republicans approve of the job the House Republicans are doing.
That is a huge, nearly 4 to 1 difference. Most Democrats like their Democratic president. Few Republicans like their Republican House.
Obama's low approval ratings can be attributed to a difference in ideology between the Republican and Democratic Party. The House Republicans' low approval rating, by contrast, has to be attributed to a difference in ideology within the Republican Party.
I'm old. I can remember when Republicans were the more pragmatic party. You could question their policies but they were the first to point out that Democrats' starry-eyed proposals to end all suffering might not be practical or that certain regulations might make it nearly impossible for a small business owner to continue to operate. It's not like that now.
For a certain wing of today's Republican Party, pragmatism is an ugly word.They don't care about practical. Would freezing the debt ceiling and suddenly pulling 10% of GDP out of the economy actually trigger a recession? So what. It has to be done in order to protect their ideals of a smaller government. Would shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood hurt the economy and potentially put people out of work? So what. It has to be done in order to protect the sanctity of life. For them, to give in a little on ideals is like being just a little pregnant. Compromising on ideals is proof that you aren't sincerely idealistic. It's proof that you are ... pragmatic.
Right now, the Republican Party has a fight similar to the one between factions of Muslims in the Middle East. On the one side are pragmatic moderates who are more interested in progress than ideological purity. On the other side are ideologues who are convinced that God is with them and to compromise with moderates shows a lack of faith, corrupts something pure. Whether you hate or love Muslims or Republicans, you better hope that the moderates among each win. Because ideologues prefer war to compromise.
Quinnipiac Poll numbers here: