Yglesias is exactly right that what the poll shows is, "People hate Republicans." That is to say, Bush-inflicted "brand damage" causes people to give negative answers to any poll question involving the word "Republican." There are two big problems with this poll as a guide to what policy Republicans (or anyone else) should support:
- Rational ignorance -- One of the most interesting polls of the past year was the one showing that 41% of CNN viewers didn't even realize Democrats had taken control of Congress. What voters knew was that Bush was a Republican and they hated him, and therefore an overwhelming majority was eager to vote against Republicans. These voters -- independent "swing" voters being a particularly ill-informed segment of the electorate -- were operating on the principle that Ilya Somin dubbed "rational ignorance." Given the vastness of their ignorance, it is likely that many of them (a) still don't realize that Democrats hold the whip hand in Congress, and (b) don't have a clue in hell what's in the stimulus or what the GOP position is.
- "Random adults" -- Gallup says, "Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,018 national adults, aged 18 and older." Not likely voters, not even registered voters, merely random adults. As everyone who knows anything about polling knows, non-voters always skew left of the actual electorate, especially on economic issues. Why? Because non-voters tend to have very low levels of income and education. The whole point of the massive Democratic get-out-the-vote drives every election year is to counteract the extremely low level of political involvement by the poor and ignorant, who would vote Democrat, if only they weren't too stupid and lazy to vote. (Obama got 63% of the vote among high-school dropouts, his best performance among any educational demographic. ) So polls that don't screen out non-voters will always show that feeble-minded welfare parasites want more welfare giveaways, and the parasites are at least smart enough to know that Democrats are the Welfare Giveaway Party.