One of the most interesting outcomes of last fall's election results we're seeing in our polling right now is that Republican voters are a lot happier with their own party than they were over the course of last year.
Our national poll for Daily Kos this week found 63% of GOP voters approving of Congressional Republicans with 27% disapproving. To put those numbers into some perspective, our final national poll before last year's election found just 44% of Republicans expressing support for their party leadership in Washington to 38% who disagreed.
It's not just Congressional Republicans seeing a bump. Our poll for Kos last week found that 75% of Republican voters had a favorable opinion of their party in general, compared to only 16% with a negative one. Those are pretty impressive numbers given that last April we found only 54% of GOP voters liked the direction of their party while 22% dissented. Winning seems to have solved a lot of people's concerns.
The big winner in all of this? I think it's establishment Republican politicians. If the GOP base is more content with the party there's likely to be less of a focus next year on taking out incumbents in primaries. Just like the Democratic fever of 2008 was dulled in 2009 and 2010 because the party's voters got fat and happy because of their success, the anger level of Republicans seems likely to be down a notch from 2010. In a twisted way the Tea Party could become a victim of its own success- there just isn't likely to be the same sense of urgency about rooting out moderates in primaries and that sort of thing that there was when the party was completely out of power.
And in that sense the calming down of the Tea Party could ultimately work to the GOP's benefit-because it increases the likelihood of a Presidential nominee and nominees in key Senate races that has the ability to win in November.