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GOP poll numbers another victim of the government shutdown

Published October 28, 2013 at 10:56 am

The Republican Party’s brand has reached an historic low in the aftermath of the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, with a Washington Post-ABC News poll finding that only 32 percent hold a favorable opinion, and 63 percent disapprove, of the GOP.

So who is to blame for the damage to the brand?

If you ask Senator Lindsey Graham, the finger should be pointed back at the Republican Party, and specifically at his Senate colleague Ted Cruz.

“We helped President Obama when he needed our help the most,” Graham said last week on CBS’ “Face the Nation” broadcast. “After this debacle called the shutdown, our party’s been hurt, our brand name is at the lowest ever, Obamacare actually got a bump in polling, and we got in the way of a disastrous rollout.”

How does the GOP repair its image?

In light of the poll, the dominant media narrative is that the Republican brand is irreparably damaged. The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy told The Post last week, “What should be a pretty successful [election] cycle for them is deteriorating by the week.”

With the 2014 midterm election cycle already into its first act, coalition building and some old fashioned “big tent” politics on the part of Republicans will be critical if they are to make any notable headway with voters next November. Two blocs in particular—young voters and minority groups—are ripe to be picked off from Democrats if the GOP plays its cards right.

The party does still has a full year to alter the public’s perceptions, and as Republican pollster Bill McInturff told NPR, the short attention span of Americans could be the party’s saving grace.

“The big story of the day is rarely the big story of a year from now,” he said.

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