Saturday, November 17, 2007


A few weeks ago, I expressed skepticism about a Pew poll that showed Hillary Clinton beating Rudy Giuliani in the South. It seemed unimaginable, and it seemed like something that should be front-page news if it's true.

But maybe it is true. Via Taegan Goddard, I see that there's a new Elon University poll of five Southern states -- Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. And what do you know:

Respondents were split on which party to support in 2008. Thirty-five percent of respondents indicated support for the Republicans and 36 percent favored the Democrats. Twenty-three percent of citizens are unsure of which party they will support at this time.

Democrats beat Republicans by a point? Really?

I know Florida has long been purple, and Virginia is also purple these days -- but Georgia and the Carolinas are still pretty damn red, or they were the last time I looked. Yet the dominance of the GOP across these states seems to be a thing of the past.

This is a "generic" question -- no actually candidate names are attached. (In nation polls, of course, Generic Democrat does much better for president than any actual Democrat.)

Still, what's up? Is the South becoming more ethnically diverse? Are more Yankees moving down there? Are Southern whites with deep roots in the region finally sick of the GOP (because of the war or the economy)?

Pair this with other polls, such as the new Gallup poll, which finds that the public has a decidedly more positive image of the Democratic Party than of the GOP, and you wonder when Democrats will wise up and start saying Hey, we're Democrats! -- as if it's a good thing -- and running against GOP candidates by reminding voters that they're Republicans.

I worry that Democrats will never figure out that this would work -- even though, these days, it might work even in the South.

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