President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama's approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts.
The survey underscores the quandary for the GOP as it debates the party's message in the wake of disappointing losses last November for the White House and in the Senate.
Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.
I know what you're thinking…. it's because Tea Partiers consider themselves independent. That's true, but the same survey found that Independents are also more likely to approve of congressional Democrats than Republicans, by a net 14 points.
In other words, independents are moving left, away from Republicans, despite the Tea Partiers.