There's quite a bit to chew on in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, but of particular interest was the gap between the parties on the major issues of the day. Fred Yang, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, said, "If the president needs some tweaks and adjustments, the Republican Party is pretty much in need of a major makeover.... The Republicans don't need a silver lining; they need a whole new playbook."
The same poll, it's worth noting, showed Republicans have an advantage on the reducing the deficit, "controlling" government spending, and national defense, but on every domestic policy issue -- including taxes and looking out for the middle class -- Democrats enjoy the edge.
For all of the efforts on the party of the political establishment to "blame both sides," the public, at least for now, seems capable of preferring one over the other.
What's more, the public doesn't even think much of the GOP's efforts. Respondents were asked whether the parties are "emphasizing unifying the country in a bipartisan way or emphasizing a partisan approach in a way that does not unify the country." For President Obama, 45% see a leader focusing on unity, while only 22% say the same about Republicans.
On a related note, the Pew Research Center also released a new poll yesterday, finding some related results that raised eyebrows.
The Pew poll found the Republican Party's image "at a historic low," driven in part by the GOP's extremism.
It's one thing for the American mainstream to think a political party is wrong or to prefer one side to the other. But this suggests the radicalization of the Republican Party in recent years has not gone unnoticed -- a majority of the country considers the GOP "too extreme."
When the party starts hurting the country on purpose later this week through sequestration cuts, these figures are likely to get worse.