You can see how the Republicans win by losing if you examine some findings from Gallup’s latest polling. People hate the Republicans, but in the bigger picture they are beginning to hate the federal government in general, which benefits the GOP.

82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.

69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.

57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.

53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.

Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.

49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

This is most strikingly demonstrated by looking at the trend lines on how the people rate the legislative branch of the federal government. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, roughly 68% of the people expressed confidence in Congress. Today, the numbers are flipped, with 69% expressing a lack of confidence in Congress. The number steadily eroded during Bush’s two terms in office. Sometime around 2007, the people reached parity (50%-50%) in their opinion of Congress. The financial shock of 2008 is what turned things in a decisively negative direction. The midterm elections of 2010 reflected this new dissatisfaction, but things have gotten much worse since then.

Despite the damage conservatives have done to the country and to the reputation of Congress, and despite the fact that people really do blame the Republicans for our problems more than they blame the president or the Democrats, the people are also increasingly sympathetic to the argument that the government is too big and cannot be trusted to solve our problems.

By making people hate the government, the Republicans are winning even if they wind up losing in the short-term.

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