Monday, June 17, 2013


Look, I don't want to tell the Republican Party how to save itself, and I think the conventional wisdom about its inevitable demise via demographics has been oversold, but if Republicans are really worried about winning future presidential elections, then the results of this poll ought to suggest a way forward:
President Barack Obama's approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month, to 45%, the president's lowest rating in more than a year and a half, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning comes as the White House has been reacting to controversies....

The poll indicates that for the first time in Obama’s presidency, half of the public says they don't believe he is honest and trustworthy.....

"The drop in Obama's support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland....
(Emphasis added.)

Down 17% among young people? I've got to believe that's the result of the NSA scandal. Maybe it's the other scandals as well, but I think that's the big one. (The IRS, Benghazi, and AP stories were all in the news at the time of the previous CNN poll and didn't do this kind of damage.) It's not that young people's responses to the survey questions are more negative than the responses of older people -- it's that they're just as negative, and that hasn't been true throughout the Obama presidency (young people have been much more positive about Obama). And I'll note that young people are the least likely to think Edward Snowden should be prosecuted. (Demographic crosstabs in this PDF.)

Republicans, this is a sign that you should drop the Bush/Cheney/McCain/Graham approach to surveillance and go Paulite -- or even just try to feign concern in this area convincingly. We assume that Rand Paul will criticize the surveillance state if he runs in 2016, but the field is going to be full of Bush/Cheneyites otherwise. If I were Rubio or Christie or Walker or Cruz or Jeb Bush, I'd mimic the Pauls on this subject. I think it would appeal to a lot of upscale, white, educated young voters -- and since the GOP doesn't seem to have the stomach for outreach to non-whites (I don't think an immigration bill is going to get through the House), why shouldn't Republicans go for upscale whites, since whites are their base anyway? Add young Paulbots to young bankers and brokers and you're starting to build yourself a coalition.

I don't think it will happen -- old habits die hard, so I assume the 2016 GOP field apart from Paul will be full of folks pushing foreign policy muscularity, advised by a lot of old Bush/Cheney hands. But I think they'll be missing an opportunity to redefine an issue.


Victor said...

Ol' habits, die hard.

They jess kent hep it.

Erika Frensley said...

Well, the problem is that Cheney, McCain, and Graham have their fingers in the pie. They can't change their approach or their potential future jobs (and current paychecks) will be in jeopardy. If they lessen their "anger" aka stupidity one bit, they'll lose the spotlight. And these are the types of roaches that actively seek the spotlight.