Rush Limbaugh has been Topic A in the political world, with Republicans debating his influence on their party and Democrats trying to elevate the conservative radio host to the GOP's de facto spokesman. The skirmish has cast a bright light on the GOP and its search for leadership in the Obama era. But the personality-driven diversion has deflected attention from the deeper problems the party faces. Simply put, the public isn't buying what Republicans are selling right now. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this past week put Republican popularity at near historic lows. Just 26 percent in the survey viewed the party positively, compared with 68 percent for President Barack Obama, despite the economic crisis and sharp GOP criticism of his $3.8 trillion budget plan.Republicans trailed by more than a 30-point margin on the
question of which party is best positioned to end the recession
Detailed data from the survey here.