The Republican Party may have a big election year anyway, but Americans sure don't think much of it or its leadership.
Only 28% of voters in the country say they approve of the current direction of the GOP with 51% disapproving. Even among voters who identify with the party just 54% say they like where it's headed. It's predictable that Democrats would give it very low marks but even among independents just 18% think the Republicans are headed in the right direction while 49% dissent.
One person who's not doing the party any favors is Michael Steele. Only 10% of Americans have a favorable opinion of him while 33% see him unfavorably. Even in his own party a plurality of voters have a negative view of him, with 19% saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him to 15% with a positive one.
Any thought that having Steele as the chair might help the party reach out to African Americans can be tossed away- only 5% of them have a favorable opinion of him to 53% with a negative one.
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner aren't real popular either, but they do better than Steele. Each of them is seen favorably by 15% of Americans, with 25% in Boehner's case and 26% in McConnell's viewing each of them in a negative light. They both at least, in contrast to Steele, are generally held in positive regard by Republicans. It's a 28/9 spread for Boehner and a 25/8 one for McConnell.
The GOP is a mess right now, defined by weak and unpopular leaders who have most voters thinking the party's headed in the wrong direction. The fact that the party is still likely to fare well in 2010 speaks to just how cranky the electorate is and how dimly it views the Democratic leadership.
Full results here