Most Americans Think The GOP Needs A Serious Makeover

Chris Christie

60 per cent of Americans believe the Republican Party is too eager to shield the wealthy from tax increases, and nearly as many — 57 per cent — think the GOP should undergo major repairs before the 2016 presidential election.

That number, derived from a Bloomberg National Poll released Wednesday, includes more than one-third of Republicans and 60 per cent of political independents.

Asked who among the current roster of potential GOP White House hopefuls could rescue the party, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won a narrow majority: 51 per cent said he represents either an “excellent” or a “good” fit for a Republican Party that needs a better strategy for winning.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ vice presidential nominee this year, was a distant second, earning the support of one-third of those polled. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was close behind Ryan, with 31 per cent.

Christie was the only current or former governor to score better than 30 per cent. That’s the number of respondents who rated 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as “excellent” or “good.” But Romney’s negative responses far outnumbered his positive ones: 43 per cent saw him as unfavorable, a number no one else in the survey matched.

House Speaker John Boehner’s numbers are similarly upside-down, with 34 per cent of respondents seeing him in a favourable light during the fiscal cliff negotiations with the White House. 30-seven per cent oppose him.

Just 27 per cent of those polled saw former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush favourably as a leader who could help the GOP. Current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal placed last, with 24 per cent. 

The other takeaway from the periodic poll of 1,000 adults is that Republicans’ political sacred cows may be softening in the face of a tough electoral loss in November.

Just 43 per cent of Republicans polled said they could not vote for a presidential candidate who supports legalizing same-sex marriage. Only 40 per cent found pro-abortion-rights candidates completely unacceptable.

And more than one-third of Republicans and independents combined said they could support candidates who endorsed amnesty or another path to legal status for illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Overall, 50 per cent of the poll respondents said they have a favourable view of the Democratic Party. While that number is not a glowing mandate, it’s the highest rating for Democrats since June, and represents a 12-point lead over Republicans’ 38 per cent showing. The Bloomberg poll hasn’t found as unfavorable a view of the GOP since September 2011.

The Iowa-based Selzer & Co. conducted the Bloomberg poll Dec. 7-10. Selzer sampled 1,000 adults — not necessarily all registered or “likely” voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Data about the number of Democrats, Republicans and independents Selzer sampled was not available.