Monday, April 01, 2013


According to a new Gallup poll, the top criticism of Republicans is that they're "inflexible":
As Republican leaders openly scrutinize their party after a 2012 election that was disappointing for them, rank-and-file Republicans, independents, and Democrats voice the same primary criticism of the GOP: it is "too inflexible" or "unwilling to compromise." When asked to say what they most dislike about the Republican Party, 26% of Republicans, 17% of independents, and 22% of Democrats offer this critique -- leading all other mentions.
That's a legitimate criticism of the GOP, obviously -- but please note that this #1 answer is not a critique of any policy position associated with the party.

The #1 criticism of Democrats -- and it was #1 among Republican, Democratic, and independent respondents -- is that Democrats "Spend too much/Increase the budget deficit." So ideology (or at least perceived ideology) is the #1 reason Democrats are disliked -- but not Republicans.

Admittedly, the #2 critique of Republicans is "For the rich/Protecting the wealthy, not the middle class." But it's the only matter of ideology that's mentioned by as much as 5% of the poll sample

Here's everything that at least 5% of poll respondent criticized Republicans for. I've put the one ideological item in bold:

Inflexible/Unwilling to compromise: 21%
For the rich/Protecting the wealthy, not the middle class: 12%
Don't stand up for their positions/Give in too easily: 9%
Inconsistent/Dishonest/Say one thing and do another: 5%
Now here's the Democratic list -- note that all the items in bold are ideological:

Spend too much/Increase the budget deficit: 14%
Inflexible/Unwilling to compromise/Not accountable: 8%
Poor leadership/President Obama: 8%
Too focused on entitlements: 7%
Don't stand up for the common man/Misplaced priorities/Wrong ideas: 5%
Big government/Government too involved in things/Overreach: 5%
Republicans have done a good job of telling moderates and conservatives, "If you believe X, don't ever vote for a Democrat, because Democrats believe Y." Democrats -- even though Republicans seem to get more ideologically pure every day -- have done a poor job of getting persuadable voters to focus on specific unpopular Republican policy positions.

That's part of the reason the country still doesn't seem to see the GOP as way out of the mainstream. American politics isn't going to change until this changes.


Victor said...

Uhm, Steve,
You talk about the Democrats and their inability to get their "message" about Republicans across to the public, but please don't forget to mention "the messenger" - our cowardly, compliant, and complicit MSM.

The Sunday bloviation fests are still dominated by Republicans/Conservatives, and too many, if not most, of the MSM practices 'he said/she said' "journalism."

THAT, as I know you know, is no small factor in this.

Steve M. said...

Yeah, you're right about that.

John Magnum said...

Somewhat amusing: After the biggest problem with Republicans being "Inflexible/Unwilling to compromise", the third-biggest is "Don't stand up for their positions/Give in too easily". Phenomenal.

Steve M. said...

I know, I know. That's the #2 complaint Republicans have about their own party.

Unknown said...

Believe it or not, I think the poll makes sense. One of the reasons i think the Republicans don't have ideological complaints is because they don't explain their position enough. If people don't understand, they're not going to vote for you, but they won't complain either. Also, the Democratic Party uses all their negative PR to attack the Republicans on a "personal" level not an ideological one, so that is what people complain about.

Batocchio said...

Good point. Plus, what Victor said.