Without an overt effort to do so, it appears the Obama campaign is attracting a new – and for him – very significant class of voters. Republicans. Given the far-edge-of-the-earth positioning of the national GOP, the news is hardly surprising. But it is interesting.

The results of a new survey by Wenzel Strategies – a national Republican polling firm – yes, Virginia, Republican – offers pretty good evidence of the cross-voting. Co-sponsored by World Net Daily, polling showed one in five Republicans questioned planned to vote for the President. What’s more, 54% of Republicans and 60% of Independents thought the President has exceeded or lived up to their expectations. Read that how you will.

Another tidbit. The only Republican presidential candidate not losing GOP support by at least 20% to Mr. Obama was Ron Paul. He’s at 19%.

While the survey turned up almost as many reasons for the GOP defections as people questioned, I think there are two main factors. The economy is improving and us average folk don’t like the candidates currently in play.

First, the economy. Presidents of any political persuasion – like quarterbacks – get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses. In both cases, there are whole teams involved and success – or failure – comes from an entire group of players. Political or pigskin. Presidents – and quarterbacks – are just the most prominent faces when an outcome is reached so they’re the ones everyone thinks of. Sometimes, success comes to both in spite of their efforts and defeat can be the outcome no matter how hard everyone worked. Just the way things are.

But the economy is improving. So, following long tradition, many people are attributing that to Obama. I think there’s enough hard evidence in improved employment, record low interest rates, healthier corporations – like the automakers – and diminished unemployment numbers to give the current administration more than a little credit. Some mistakes along the way? Yep. But, overall, we’re in better shape now than three years ago.

When people feel pressures easing, life gets a little better no matter their other concerns. If the country seems to be returning to normal, we feel relieved.

Then, there’s the GOP presidential crop. In every national poll – not just the one referred to previously – in every one, the sitting President beats all Republicans. All of ‘em. The only difference is the margin. From about seven points to nearly 30. Republican or Democrat. The message there is very, very clear. Most people don’t like any of the choices offered.

There may be a third situation worth noting. Outside the doctrinal, small, far right base of the national party, a lot of Republicans don’t see the President as some sort of socialist demon out to take from the rich and give to the poor. They may like his effort to close tax loopholes for the very rich and get them to pay higher rates. But they don’t see it as socialism or redistribution of wealth as much as they do fairness.

The plain fact is congressional Republicans aren’t helping the national party keep everyone loyal. They’ve been totally ineffective in addressing anything remotely helpful for our bad economy. They’ve done nothing to enable job creation and have stymied other’s efforts to do so. They’ve kept busy with social issue legislation that so far has not garnered popular support. Much less congressional. They’ve cost us our traditionally excellent financial rating and are poised to do it again.

And they’ve pick, pick, picked at the American middle class with legislative attempts to kill labor unions, demonize teachers, firefighters, police and other public sector workers. There’s a bill before the House Energy and Transportation Committee at this moment to strip several thousand rail industry workers of federal minimum wage and overtime protections in direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Go figure.

So, one in five Republican voters is telling Republican pollsters they’ll vote for the sitting president. A Democrat. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lacking an acceptable GOP candidate alternative, watching the economy get better, recognizing some positive results from the current administration’s efforts – regardless of party – and seeing members of the congressional GOP run roughshod over working Americans while doing nothing to help – what other outcome would you expect from average, non-doctrinal, working voters? Of either party? Or those Independents.

But I’d bet – I’d just bet – in the upper echelons of the National Republican Committee, there will be no effort to deviate from the current suicidal course of far right policy any time soon – there will be a major bloodletting at the national convention – litmus tests will be liberally administered with those failing excommunicated and they’ll produce a deeply, politically – flawed candidate who will return to private life after the November election.

One in five, huh? Do I hear two in five? Three?

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