Offering up a summation of political lessons supposedly learned from watching the debt ceiling negotiations, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza points to the fact that Republicans fought the battle on their "home field" [emphasis added]:
The turf on which any battle or game is being fought matters. It's true in war, sports and politics. The debt ceiling debate proved that once again as Republicans took advantage of the fact that on matters of spending, debt and the size of government there is an innate sense among the electorate that the GOP is better equipped to make the right decisions. Republicans knew from the start that they started from a position of relative strength because of those general perceptions and, as a result, were willing to push harder and stick closer to their original negotiating position.
There's "an innate sense" out there that Republicans are the ones to trust on key issues, such as spending and the debt? Well, that "innate sense" might extend throughout the Beltway press corps, but it doesn't reflect mainstream America. Not according to polling data.
What's even more odd is that Cillizza's own newspaper just published poll results in which voters consistently rate Democrats higher than Republicans when it comes to handling the economy, the deficit, and taxes.
And the debt:
As you may know, there is a debate in Washington right now about reducing the federal budget deficit and increasing the government's debt limit. Who do you trust more to handle this issue (Obama) or (the Republicans in Congress)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
According to the Washington Post poll, 48 percent trust Obama, compared to 39 percent who trust Republicans.
Memo to the media: Republicans don't enjoy "innate" electorate support to make the best economic decisions for the country. Let's stop pretending they do.
Cross-posted from Media Matters