THE UNASKED POLL QUESTION THAT COULD CONVINCE ME THE GOP IS COLLAPSING
Greg Sargent is getting attention for a post titled "The Implosion of the GOP Brand, in One Chart." Here's the chart he's talking about, based on the latest Washington Post/ABC poll:
Looks pretty bad for the Republicans, right?
But I want a follow-up question -- a question I'd like to see asked in every survey of GOP favorability. It would be something like this: If you have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, would you favor (A) a Republican Party that is more devoted to conservative principles or (B) a Republican Party that is more moderate?
Or, alternately: If you have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, would you favor (A) a Republican Party that sticks to conservative principles no matter what or (B) a Republican Party that believes compromise is sometimes necessary?
Among the groups in the chart shown above -- or at least among old people, independents, and white college grads -- I believe that a significant percentage of disgust with the GOP is based on the notion that it compromises too much. (I'm thinking of Fox-watching old people, teabagger-style independents, and red-state college grads.) And I'm certain that this is a major component of discontent with the GOP in the groups that make up the party's base (rural whites, Evangelicals, et cetera).
This matters because rejection of the GOP in a poll doesn't necessarily translate to rejection of the GOP at the polls. It doesn't if the disgruntled voters want the most right-wing candidates they can find, which means they'll vote for Lindsey Graham even if his tea party challenger fails to defeat him in the primary.
Please, pollsters -- ask which way disgust with the GOP goes. Only then will we really know whether the party is in trouble.