Anger About the Economy Fuels Republican Advantage

GOP more PO'ed than Dems at economy.

ByABC News
October 7, 2010, 5:23 PM

Oct. 12, 2010 -- Anger, thy name is Republican.

That's part of the takeaway from the latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll. Its results identify why the public's economic discontent is playing so strongly in the Republican Party's favor in the upcoming midterm elections: in elections, anger works.

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This national survey finds that Republicans are markedly more likely than other Americans to describe themselves as "angry" about the economy. And angry people, by a wide margin, are more apt to blame the Democratic Party than the GOP for the problem.

Angry folks, for good measure, also are far less apt than others to believe the economy's started to show signs of recovery. That pessimism intensifies their hunt for change.

All told, 85 percent of Americans are either angry about the economy or at least dissatisfied with it, according to the survey, produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates. That makes economic discontent even higher than anger or dissatisfaction with "the way the federal government is working," at 71 percent in an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week.

What's crucial is not just the net total, but the "anger" number -- 25 percent of all adults in this survey, with broad political differences. Among registered voters, just 12 percent of Democrats are angry about the economy. That jumps to 30 percent of independents, and among Republicans it soars to a remarkable 41 percent -- an extraordinary number to express so strong an emotion.

Among those who are angry about the economy, 54 percent blame both parties equally. But 35 percent say they're angrier with the Democrats -- more than triple the number, 10 percent, who aim their ire at the Republicans. To the extent that anger equals motivation, that 25-point differential explains some of the GOP advantage in pre-election polls.

Notably, blame shifts among the larger group of people who are dissatisfied with the economy, but not angry about it; they're 6 points more apt to be dissatisfied with the Republicans than with the Democrats. Mere dissatisfaction, though, is less of a motivator; in the ABC/Post poll, it was angry people who were the most apt to say they're certain to vote.