The Schiavo case has opened another rift. Though Mr. Bush and Republican congressional leaders acted to maximize the opportunity for reinserting Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube, 39% of Republicans said removing the tube was "the right thing to do," while 48% said it was wrong. About 18% of Republicans say they lost respect for Mr. Bush on the issue and 41% lost respect for Congress. The survey of 1,002 adults, conducted March 31-April 3, has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points in either direction; the error margin for Republicans alone is 5.2 percentage points [...]
To be sure, Mr. Bush's agenda isn't the only development giving some Republicans heartburn lately. So are controversies surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. After a closed-door meeting yesterday in which Republicans generally rallied around their leader, former House Ethics Committee Joel Hefley said, "I hear a lot of negative stuff" about Mr. DeLay from constituents. In the poll, Mr. DeLay's negative rating among Americans overall inched up to 24% from 20% in January; his positive rating was unchanged at 17%, while 50% said they were neutral or had no opinion about him [...]
The economy remains a concern for all Americans. Amid rising gasoline prices -- ranked as the second-most-closely watched issue of recent weeks after the Schiavo case -- 53% of those surveyed disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, up from 47% in January. The national mood has darkened somewhat in recent weeks, as 51% say the country is heading "on the wrong track" while just 34% say "in the right direction."
The filibuster numbers are encouraging as well. Like the Shiavo affair, only the extremists in that party are eager for that sort of fight.