Since Mitt Romney’s failure to conquer the White House and the Republican’s missed bids to win a majority in the Senate, there has been much talk of the need for the GOP to evolve. A recent poll shows that avoiding the fiscal cliff could be the place for GOP soul searching to start.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post shows that 53% of Americans would blame the Republican Party if no agreement is reached to avoid the upcoming fiscal cliff. Only 29% of the people polled would put the blame primarily on President Obama. More Republicans would blame the president (68%) and more Democrats would blame the Republicans in Congress (85%), with independents twice more likely to blame the GOP.
On their road to rediscovery, GOP leaders would thus be smart to find a way to compromise and avoid the fiscal cliff, particularly as 62% of Americans believe that it would have a negative impact on the economy.
Changing the Republican rhetoric on immigration and women’s rights, which were contentious issues in the election, will take time. However, siding with President Obama on the tax raise for wealthier Americans could be an easy first step toward reconquering the heart of the middle class.
The GOP made many mistakes that disfranchised voters during the electoral campaign, among which was qualifying the middle class as earning $250,000. In reality, according to the IRS, only 2% of households earn more than $250,000 a year. Additionally, a Pew Research Center poll shows 58% of Americans believe the rich do not pay enough taxes. According to a Bloomberg poll 53% of self-identified Republicans would back tax increase for households making more than $250,000.
Considering these facts, Republican leaders in Congress might benefit from accepting Obama’s tax hike on the wealthiest Americans and use it to leverage more concessions from the Democrats on other issues. They would thereby kill three birds with one stone: they would do something that the majority of their constituents want, they would make a definitive step toward avoiding the fiscal cliff, and they would appear as the ones who were willing to compromise. This could garner support for the Republican party, which badly needs it.