Poll junkies have wondered why President Obama’s poll ratings haven’t tanked in the wake of the scandals. Scott Rasmussen’s op-ed offers a fine explanation of that phenomena:

So, why hasn’t it hurt the president’s overall job approval? Some believe it has. The theory is that with a recovering economy, his ratings should be higher. Another possibility is that the president’s base may have doubts, but they are still sticking by their man.

It also may be that the doubts are popping up in other ways. For example, at Rasmussen Reports we regularly ask voters which party they trust to deal with a range of issues including government ethics and corruption. Before the scandals broke, Democrats had an 8-point advantage on this particular issue. But there has been a 10-point swing, and the GOP now has a 2-point edge.

Among unaffiliated voters, Republicans enjoy a 23-point advantage on the ethics front. Before the controversies, it was a toss-up.

Republicans shouldn’t rejoice over this polling. This polling gives them an advantage on these issues. They don’t say that they’re popular. To become popular, not to mention trusted, Republicans need to build off of this and tell people that their actions are guided by doing the right thing for the right reasons. Anything short of that will cause people to still have doubts about Republicans.

That said, Scott Rasmussen’s polling contains some troubling news for Democrats:

White House press secretary Jay Carney, speaking on CNN, dismissed “the premise, the idea that these were scandals.” However, voters see it differently. Just over half believe each of the three qualifies as a scandal. Only one out of eight sees them as no big deal.

Voters also reject the notion that the IRS targeting was the work of some low-level rogue employees. Just 20 percent believe that to be the case. A slightly larger number (26 percent) thinks the decision came from IRS headquarters. But 39 percent believe the decision to target conservative groups was made by someone who works at the White House.

This isn’t just a case of people believing politicians always behave this way. Only 19 percent think the IRS usually targets political opponents of the president.

Yesterday, the St. Cloud Times published an LTE that I wrote about here. The LTE essentially accused all administrations of using the IRS to punish that administration’s political opponents. Clearly, people aren’t buying that storyline. Apparently, though, Randy Krebs is buying that spin because he chose to publish the accusation-filled LTE. But I digress.

Simply put, Jay Carney’s credibility is almost nonexistent at this point. Carney’s daily changing explanations of the IRS scandal are painful to watch. His White House press briefings are almost as painful to watch as were the daily beatings Scott McLellan took while he was the Bush administration’s pinata.

These scandals aren’t going away anytime soon. They’re destroying the Democrats’ credibility, starting with this administration’s credibility. The worst news for this administration is that its worst days are still ahead.

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