Despite his promise today that he's "not interested in playing a blame game," polls suggest that doing just that just that would be a very effective strategy for President Obama. In two separate surveys out on Tuesday, Republicans were again considered the more "extreme" party in Washington, and are more concerned with their own ideas than unifying the country. A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 22 percent of Americans think the GOP is focused on "unity," compared to 49 percent for Democrats. Respondents were divided about 50/50 when it came to the President's approach.
At the same time, a new Pew Research poll says that the majority of Americans thinks Republicans are "out of touch," "too extreme " and "not open to change." They aren't exactly swooning over the Democrats either, but the gap between the two parties is big enough to steer a sequestered submarine through.
The Republicans are unquestionably seen as the party of the partisanship and gridlock, which bodes well for the President's current strategy of hoping they take the blame for any ill effects from government spending cuts. He said today at his speech in Virginia—dismissed as "road show" campainging by House Republicans—that "he's only interested in solving problems" and not assigning blame. He's counting on Americans to do that part for him.
If these numbers are right, the public is already way ahead of him. In fact, Republicans are also harder on their own party than Democrats on are on theirs, but we'd guess that a significant percentage of those people think the GOP compromises too much. In any case, both sides are talking as if no deal is happening. If so, the GOP better hope these polls are wrong, because if things turn south, it's unlikely that layoffs and a slowing economy will win them more fans.