Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of Rasmussen Reports, says there are signs the trio of scandals surrounding the Obama administration could cause more serious problems for the president and the Democratic Party if they persist.
Speaking to Newsmax TV, the pollster and political analyst explained: "As some people argue, his job approval ratings have already been hurt because they should be going up. The economy is getting stronger, the stock market is setting records, [but] the president's job approval is not going anywhere."
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He continued, "When we look at a question of, say, who do you trust more on the issue of ethics and corruption, it used to be Democrats had a big edge on the issue, but now with the scandals and controversy, the Republicans have a slight advantage; there's been a 10-point swing on that."
As for the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, Rasmussen said, "Fifty-seven percent believe that the IRS really did target people and they don't buy the notion that it was some low-level people at the Cincinnati office. Sixty-five percent believe the decisions came from Washington at either the IRS headquarters or the White House."
In addition, he said of Obama, "We do know that his overall efforts, his desire, his whole public life has been spent on the mission to restore faith in the federal government, trust in the federal government. That was an uphill fight to begin with; it's probably an unwinnable fight at this point."
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Discussing how the scandals might help Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections, Rasmussen said public opinion is now "marginally in favor" of the GOP.
"In the last five weeks Republicans have been ahead on the generic congressional ballots twice; Democrats, three times. We saw that same kind of balance going back and forth in April and May of 2009 and then gradually the Republican wave began to build," he said.
"So we'll be watching over this summer. If the scandals pick up and the generic ballot begins to move in the Republican direction, you'll see definitely that's going to help."
On top of the scandals, Republicans might also be able to capitalize on the rollout of Obamacare, according to Rasmussen. "It's likely to run into some administration hurdles, some bureaucratic issues, but it's also running into the fact that it has never become popular, and that's going to be a pretty healthy drag on Democrats in the 2014 elections."
Assessing the field of potential GOP contenders in the 2016 presidential race, Rasmussen said he does not think former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, or House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will win the Republican nomination.
He did not rule out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio becoming the nominee, and he called Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul "a serious contender," noting the IRS scandal has boosted public opinion of the tea party.
"The tea party right now is viewed favorably by 44 percent of voters nationwide. That's up 14 points from before the targeting," he said. "Eighty percent of Republicans now have a favorable opinion of the tea party. That's a big jump. There's been this divide between the Republican establishment who really wanted to protect themselves from the tea party. ... Now, the IRS has put them all on the same team and that unity could not have been achieved in any other way."
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On the Democratic side, Rasmussen is not optimistic about Hillary Rodham Clinton's prospects in 2016.
"I have a very hard time believing Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee," he said. "Benghazi is certainly not going to help but there will be other factors. We just don’t know what the Democratic field is going to look like."
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