According to Chris Matthews, a new NBC poll showing bad poll numbers for the Republican Party is comparable to "Watergate." Finding that Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the shutdown by a 22 percent margin, Matthews marveled, "I get the sense that this is a historic poll."
Talking to Chuck Todd, the Hardball anchor prompted, "Compared to Watergate?" This was too much for Todd. He hedged, "Is it Watergate levels? Well, if this were October 2014, you might be talking about something like this. This is wave-type numbers, if this were a month out from the election. But we're not a month out from the election." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Of course, the Associated Press found that Obama's numbers had sunk to 37 percent in the wake of the shutdown. The liberal host didn't mention that.
Matthews is not exactly original. On October 14, 2005, he insisted that George W. Bush's scandals were worse than "Watergate."
On September 23, 2010, the cable anchor knocked the GOP midterm pledge as the "biggest cover-up since Watergate."
According to Matthews, Ted Cruz's negative rating has jumped from 18 percent to 36 percent. The host trashed, "He's climbing in the villain category." (Matthews has certainly helped make Cruz a villain. He routinely compares him to Joe McCarthy.)
A partial transcript of the October 10 segment is below:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And when asked what they want the makeup of the next Congress to look like, 39 percent of Americans say they want it to be Republican-controlled, while nearly 50 percent now say they want the Democrats back in charge. Chuck, this is something. I get the sense this is an historic poll.
CHUCK TODD: It is. And look, there's no bones about it, the shutdown has been an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. There's more numbers in here. Their negative rating of 53 percent in our poll is historic. They have never been that low in the nearly 25-year history of this poll. You've got the two numbers that you pointed out. They've got 22-point advantage on getting the blame for the shutdown, the fact that even 40 percent of Republicans, essentially the non-Tea Party Republicans -- and that's a whole separate story, Chris. There is a stark divide inside the Republican Party that's going to start playing itself out the longer this goes on.
But when you even have 40 percent of those non-Tea Party Republicans saying they're putting politics ahead of the country -- look, the President -- his approval rating actually went up a couple of points. Hostility toward the health care law has lessened. All -- everything that this shutdown was supposed to be about for Republicans has boomeranged on them.
MATTHEWS: Last question. Compared to Watergate?
TODD: Well, compared to Watergate, I mean, that's -- that's the -- is it Watergate levels? Well, if this were October 2014, you might be talking about something like this. This is wave-type numbers, if this were a month out from the election. But we're not a month out from the election.
MATTHEWS: I got that.
TODD: And we've got --
MATTHEWS: Governor --
TODD: You know, you've got more than a year.
MATTHEWS: I saw his numbers, his negatives in just the time we've heard of him, since June, have doubled from 18 to 36 percent. He's climbing in the villain category.
TODD: He is, but this really is -- the aim is Congress and it's congressional Republicans. And this 78 percent number, we've only hit that one other time in the 25-year history, and that was right after Lehman Brothers collapsed, okay?