Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Aimai has some thoughtful things to say about the new Quinnipiac poll, which says, among other things, that more women than men consider themselves members of the tea party movement. I'll just add a bit of speculation based on the focus-group interviews Greenberg Quinlan Rogers conducted with movement conservatives last fall. This is from the GQR report (PDF):

Several of the women particularly talked about becoming a sort of truth police, spending a great deal of their personal time and energy watching FOX to get the real stories, then turning to CNN, MSNBC, and the networks to document their failure to cover the "real truth." It was unclear what they did with this information once gathered, other than share it with others within this group....

Glenn Beck ... received nothing short of adulation from these voters, particularly the women. They believe he embodies the best of conservative media -- determination to unearth the stories the liberal media tries to bury, love of country, and refusal to be intimidated, even as the liberal media unleashes waves of attacks on his past and his credibility.

I think he’s a patriot... I think he's passionate. You know they make jokes about him crying and all this kind of stuff; I think the man, I think the man feels it. I think he's genuine.

I think the guy's brilliant. No one goes after him because he does his homework. He checks, double checks, triple checks and he says he refuses to put it on the air unless it's been checked a hundred different times. So when you can't get at him, you start calling him names and start digging into his past.

He is a firecracker... He tells the truth... He is also a person who says what he thinks... He gets emotional, but if you can past the emotion and follow his logic, he makes some really good points.

I get angry when I watch his show because I get angry that no one is listening to this and how come regular media is not airing it.

... [There] was a common fear among the women for his personal safety, a belief that his willingness to stand up to powerful liberal interests was putting his life, as well as the lives of those working with him, in danger....

How much of a factor is that -- the notion of Glenn Beck as a truth-telling, quivering-voiced cherub certain women just want to shield from harm?

(It should be noted that right-wing women also apparently have a disproportionate fondness for another chubby-cheeked, non-macho right-winger, Mike Huckabee. I guess not being a cigar-chomping blusterer a la Limbaugh goes a long way with female righties, as does the ability to seem deeply and profoundly concerned and troubled.)


By the way, this is a lousy poll for the Democrats. Republicans are up by 5 on the generic ballot question. Republican favorability is up 5 since November, while Democratic favorability is down 6 -- the parties are now even, at 33%. Yeah, the headline is "Tea Party Could Hurt GOP In Congressional Races" -- but that's only if you believe there'll be even an inch of daylight between Republicans and teabaggers by November. (I don't, at least not rhetorically.) If this poll is accurate, Democrats' best hope is that (a) legislative success will improve their numbers or (b) the GOP and wingnuts are just going to seem even crazier and more extreme and nihilistic by November. We'll see.

(Note that the poll was conducted March 16-21, March 21 being the day of the health care vote. If you believe that passage gives Dems a bump that won't dissipate, this could just be a low ebb for the party. As I say, we'll see.)

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