Republicans have also lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections.
For some time, signs have indicated that the Republican Party is shifting away from majority public opinion on key issues.
Despite Republican leaders’ insistence that the deficit be tackled with spending cuts alone and no new taxes, a recent Pew Research Center poll found a different public view. The vast majority of Americans say the deficit should be addressed with a mix of tax increases — particularly on the wealthy — and spending cuts in major programs.
Yet scores, if not hundreds, of House members focus more intensely on their home district’s politics than on their national party’s reputation. Many Republicans from staunchly conservative districts fear a primary election challenge from someone to their right.
It is still possible for Obama, Boehner and Congress to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff before the Jan. 1 deadline, but for now, the House Republicans’ internal warfare makes it easier for opponents to paint them as extremists unworthy of serious negotiations.