The Congressional Republicans extreme negotiation tactics in service of forwarding an unpopular agenda, namely deficit reduction without tax increases for the rich, is taking a serious toll on their brand.

According to a CNN poll a record 59 percent of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. This number is even higher than it was during the Clinton Impeachment.

The drop in favorable opinions about the Republican Party is taking a toll on the popularity of their Congressional leadership, as well as hurting them in the generic ballot. From PPP:

A major milestone occurred in our national polling this week: John Boehner is now just as unpopular as Nancy Pelosi. His net approval is -24 at a 28/52 spread and her net approval is -24 as well at a 31/55 spread. In 2010 Republican House challengers were dying to run against Pelosi and did so with a high level of success. Now it looks like Democratic candidates may similarly be able to get traction by running against Boehner next year.

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We find Democrats with a 7 point lead on the generic Congressional ballot this week at 47-40. After getting demolished with independent voters last year, they now hold a slight 39-36 advantage with them. And in another contrast to 2010 Democratic voters are actually slightly more unified than Republicans, with 83% committed to supporting the party’s Congressional candidates compared to 80% in line with theirs.

If we had a parliamentary system or multiple viable political parties these polls would be terrible news for the Republican Party. It would indicate massive loses in the next election, but unfortunately we have a presidential system. Voters in our system tend to blame the President for the bad economy and the Republican Party is the only alternative.

The 2012 election will be an interesting political test case. We might find out if an opposition party can make itself truly unelectable or if Presidential Elections are simply referendums on the current President.