It looks like Republicans are again playing to the base and don't mind losing the rest of us. First of all, here's what the rest of us think.
WaPo/ABC News: 73 percent say Obama is “trying to compromise with the Republican leaders in Congress” while just 34 percent believe Republican leaders are trying to compromise with Obama.And if you're a Republican, you're looking at all these results and saying "Message received!" They're going to be running on that. They're viewing it as a plus that they defied popular programs championed by a popular president.
NYT/CBS News: 74 percent think Obama is “trying to work with Republicans in Congress” while just 31 percent think Republicans in Congress are trying to work with Obama.
Fox News/Opinion Dynamics: 68 percent believe that Obama “has sincerely tried to reach out to Republicans and be bipartisan” while only 33 percent believe Republicans have “sincerely tried to be helpful to Barack Obama and be bipartisan.”
It could work too. After all, Obama is one of a handful of senators who voted against the popular Iraq war, and it carried him to victory. The key, of course, is how the stimulus looks in 2010 and 2012. If we're not better off enough by then, Repubs could pick up some seats again. If there's enough improvement, there'll probably be historic supermajorities for Democrats.
Something else to consider though is whether Repubs are perceived as wanting a return to power MORE THAN responsible governance. Historically the latter is what always saved them, but I'm not so sure they'll be able to use that frame this time, because they're not offering any alternatives to the stimulus package.
Mind you, they will get votes out of this, but the hard right base is not enough to generate serious numbers. Even when Karl Rove was working his magic and neutralizing the independent vote, the best he could manage was a bare minimum majority.
By the way, I keep hearing that one of Bobby Jindal's claims to fame is that he participated in an exorcism. Again, great for the base, not so great to the rest of us. He and Sarah Palin are the party's brightest hopes right now. I won't wish them luck, but I do hope the campaigns shape up exactly the way they want them to.