At WaPo today, Aaron Blake makes a point about the GOP’s abysmal approval/disapproval ratings that I’m reasonably sure I’ve made here before, but it’s bears repeating at a time when a lot of Democrats are hoping disdain for Republicans will limit their gains in November:
[I]t’s always important to note that the GOP brand is worse than the Democratic brand in large part because of members of their own party. While 63 percent of Democrats approve of their party’s congressional members, just 34 percent of Republicans say the same. Among independents and members of the opposite party, it’s almost exactly even. And those other Republicans, we’ll bet you, will still vote GOP in 2014. So, again, the practical effect of the GOP’s poorer brand is probably more negligible than people think.
That is correct. For a good while now, a sizable minority of self-identified conservatives–Republicans and independents alike–have been in a state of simmering anger that the GOP isn’t conservative enough. They probably won’t feel otherwise until most Republican pols sound just like Ted Cruz. But they obviously won’t vote for that looter-controlled secular socialist Democratic Party, and despite constant threats to take a walk, these angry conservatives are the most likely participants in elections, too. So whereas you might think the unpopularity of the GOP would have a moderating effect on its candidates, in some respects it operates in exactly the opposite way.