AP, please define "riding a political wave"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

According to the wire service, the health care 'debate' has been a boon for the GOP:

Despite being badly outnumbered in Congress, Republicans have been riding a political wave as voters increasingly have turned against Democrats' efforts to provide more coverage to the uninsured and to pay for it through a tax surcharge on the wealthy.

It's true that poll numbers, at least prior to Obama's popular speech last night, had softened in terms of how Americans felt about health care reform. But did that also mean, as the AP implied, the GOP's fortunes were improving? That the party was "riding a political wave"?

Not that I can tell. But the press loves to tell that tale anyway, so look for it to continue.

According to the most recent party polling data (Pew Research Center), 50 percent of Americans have either a "mostly unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" opinion of the Republican Party. Back in April, that percent was almost exactly the same: 51 percent. And in January it was a very similar 54 percent.

So for the entire year, the public's (low) opinion of Republicans has remained essentially unchanged. But at the the AP, that translates into the GOP "riding a political wave."

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