The “I Hate Everything” Vote

There’s a new ABC-WaPo poll out showing about what you’d expect: the president’s job approval rating is at 43%, about what it was last month but way down from a year ago.

But at The Fix, Sean Sullivan and Scott Clement look at a large slice of the electorate they call “haters,” and see a potential GOP landslide coming. The “haters” are people who disapprove of the president and both congressional parties.

Seventy-two percent of voters who disapprove of the job Obama, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans are doing say they’d vote for the GOP candidate for U.S. House in their district if the election were held today, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday. Just 14 percent say they’d vote for the Democrat….

[T]he haters don’t tilt as heavily toward the GOP now as they did on the eve of the GOP wave election of 2010, when 85 percent said they planned to vote for the GOP candidate.

Now you might look at some of these numbers and conclude that Democrats should be frantically appealing to the “haters,” since they are “between” the two parties and open to both. But you’d be wrong: the people we are talking about are largely GOP “base” voters if they vote at all. They’ve always been around, but the Tea Party Movement has given them a fresh identity: people who will vote for any Republican over any Democrat 99 out of 100 times, but can’t bring themselves to say they approve of any major party that’s not busily tearing down the welfare state or eliminating taxes. To their credit, Sullivan and Clement note the “haters” strong right-ward tilt:

Thirty-four percent identify as Republicans and another 38 percent are independents who lean Republican. Just 13 percent are independents with no lean and just 10 percent are Democrats.

So in any poll of the popularity of the two parties, you have to put a fat thumb on the scale for Republicans because so many of their own just won’t admit their proclivities. Yes, haters are gonna hate both parties, but they’re sure not up for grabs at the ballot box.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.