Reading this WaPo piece on exactly how Americans hate the Republican Party, it put me in mind of similar polls on Obamacare, which also enjoys poor ratings. In both cases, while the headline number is rather low, when you break it down to opposition from the left and opposition from the right, a more interesting picture emerges.
"Not all of the opposition to the health care law comes from the right," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-eight percent say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, but 17% say they oppose it because it's not liberal enough. That means more than half the public either favors Obamacare, or opposes it because it doesn't go far enough."The WaPo points out that the same effect for right-wing politics implies that the GOP still has a comfortable set of "fundamentals" for the 2014 mid-term elections in America, since those who hate the Republicans from the right are presumably still going to vote for them. This is the reason why every poll analyst who includes fundamentals in their poll model, which is pretty much everyone except Sam Wang, still forecasts control of the US Senate shifting to the GOP despite the raw polls saying otherwise.
This sort of granularity in polling is sadly rare in Australian polling, with the likes of Essential and Newspoll not doing enough in this area - but at least they're still going, unlike Nielsen which Fairfax just cut. I suspect that Bill Shorten's low popularity has a significant hate-from-the-left component: Essential puts his dissatisfaction rating at 16% of Labor voters, compared to 9% disapproval of Abbott by LNP voters. How would the election of Anthony Albanese as Labor leader have changed this dynamic? The left would have been much happier with him, and I don't think he would have done much different in policy terms than Shorten is doing now. Albo might even have raised some objections to the folly of war.