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GOP triumph tempered by hard problems, now and in 2016

Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Republicans are waking up Wednesday morning with victories to celebrate but sobering realities to ponder.

Winning control of the Senate after eight years of trying is a big prize, made more sweet by the fact that only two years ago, the party seemed on the ropes. Republicans also expanded their ranks in the House and, pending several late races, could end up with their biggest majority since Harry S. Truman left the White House.

But even before the votes were counted, some of the GOP’s leading strategists had begun to warn that those victories could blind Republicans to hard problems that the 2014 campaign had done almost nothing to solve. The barriers to a Republican victory in a presidential election remain formidable, they said…

Among all voters, only 39% of registered voters had a favorable image of the GOP, with 55% viewing the party unfavorably.

The Democrats’ standing, by contrast, is merely mediocre — 48% unfavorable, 47% favorable in the Pew survey.

“No major party has ever been as unpopular in the history of polling as the Republican Party is,” pollster Mark Mellman said at a recent discussion sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank. Mellman is one of the Democrats’ most prominent pollsters, which would make his judgment on the GOP suspect but for the fact that many Republican strategists share it.