President Obama’s national campaign to blame the Republicans for the sequester cuts taking place has only partly succeeded so far. A new Washington Post poll finds 44 percent of voters would blame the Congressional Republicans more for failing to reach a deal while only 34 would blame Obama more. An additional 14 percent would blame both sides equally. A big part of the reason why these numbers are so favorable for Obama is that Democrats are more unified in blaming Republicans, while the Republican base is willing to spread the blame around.
Among just independents, the divide is smaller than the top line number. The poll found 39 percent of independents would blame Congressional Republicans more and 32 would blame the President more.
Obama has a small political advantage on this issue but currently it is not nearly large enough for his purposes. The whole thrust of the Obama strategy right now seems to be to make the Republican position on the sequester so incredibly unpopular that overwhelming political pressure will force the GOP to eventually fold.
Being down seven points on a single issue more than a year and half away from the next election is not good politically, but it seems hardly scary enough to break Republicans. Congressional Republicans have stood firm on positions that were far more politically problematic.
Republicans haven’t been able to win the messaging war by calling it the “Obama Sequester” but they have muddled the waters enough to prevent public opinion from being too one-sided.
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