A new Post/ABC News poll confirms that the hard-liners don’t speak for most Republicans and conservatives:
Still, a substantial proportion of Republicans say they have no opinion on the pick, and nearly as many Republicans support Hagel as oppose him. The numbers suggest the party’s base is hardly as incensed by Hagel’s selection as the GOP’s Senate conference — at least for now.
The difference between Republican support for the nomination (28%) and opposition to it (35%) is not that great. Among conservatives, there is likewise less support (31%) than opposition (37%), but considering the overwhelming, overt hostility to Hagel from many conservative media outlets it is striking that nearly a third of conservatives supports his confirmation. It’s worth noting that Republican and conservative opinion nationwide is almost evenly divided on the Hagel question, and nearly two-thirds of Republicans and conservatives don’t oppose him. The overall opposition to Hagel’s nomination is 24%. Republican hawks are in a political fight of their own making that gains them nothing and puts them on the wrong side of public opinion.