Friday, October 25, 2013


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.


Luigi said...

Good God, I'm first!

Steve, I think it's pretty clear that those surveyed are disgusted by what the GOP has done recently. Namely, the shutdown of the government. While there are indeed old farts (my age, I get to call them that because I are one!) who watch FOX and want the GOP to screw everyone even more, I think what you have here is the realization by people that no government, and even less government, is not what they want.

To get this blue hair crowd to continue to understand what is involved, every DEM lawmaker has to constantly reinforce the idea that what the GOP wants will directly affect their world. Their world is SS, Medicare, and even Medicaid.

It can not be said enough: A vote for a Republican is a vote to take away your Social Security and your Medicare. This is NO joke. I don't want to hear , "Well, there might not be any when I retire,: because guess what? It is there now that I am retiring in two years and it will be there when you retire.

Republicans want to starve and kill old people. Is that too simple to understand?

Victor said...

As you know, I did polling for a Republican-(more than)leaning polling outfit for about a year.

And the problem with your request, is that a survey that asked those questions would have to be paid for.
And, people don't typically pay to poll to hear what they don't want to hear or know.

And I think if the Republicans DID poll those questions, and the results were negative, then their efforts to reach out to rich individual and corporate donors would yield them a lot less bucks.

And THAT'S why, I don't believe unless a Democratic-leaning pollster asks those questions, we'll never know.

And if Democratic-leaning pollster asked those questions, the Republican Party could simply deny the information as the result of Liberal pollsters trolling Liberal pollee's.

So, while the Republicans may, indeed, be interested in finding out, they need some plausible deniability if/when negative results come back.

They'll need to "un-skew" those results, as best they can.

Steve M. said...

Victor, I'm just asking for a question about the GOP that's like the question CNN has asked a few times about the health care law (PDF):

(IF OPPOSE) Do you oppose that legislation because you think its approach toward health care is too liberal, or because you think it is not liberal enough?

Steve M. said...

(That question, by the way, regularly helps demonstrate that a majority of Americans either approve of the health care law or want a more liberal law.)

Examinator said...

As I see it the problem is that the "if you oppose" question uses the (in common idiom) emotionally loaded word "LIBERAL"
If I was composing the questions I'd be inclined to attack the issue without weighted words.
Something like "if you oppose." is it because it covers too many people or because it doesn't cover enough people?
The point is different it gets to the functional objection rather than a political one.

mervis said...

How about: If you have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, in the next election will you (A) vote for the Democratic candidate (B)stay home or (C) vote R anyway because Democrats are the party of the devil.

Victor said...

What @Examinator said - they have associated the word "Liberal" with Socialism, Fascism, Communism, and the raping and/or eating, of children.

I am, and will always label myself, as a proud Liberal - which means that I am none of the above, but a person who cares for others, and not just him/her-self.

Dark Avenger said...
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Examinator said...
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Examinator said...

What you are saying a fair bit more aggressively put that I would but yes the basic concept is there.

By the way: US has a tendency to confuse the meaning of the word liberal with the political term Liberal as in a follower of Liberalism.
e.g. almost everywhere else Liberalism (a liberal) is a political subset of conservatism.
In Australia the conservative side of politics is dominated by the Liberal party which is in practice nearer the Republican/conservative lite, (or much the same as the republicans are to the Tea Partiers' version of conservatism. [sic& sic] )than say the left(?)inclined Democrats.

The reason this is important is that the Conservative resort to re defining words to blur/eliminate,the the language that might (in this case) suggest a moderate Conservative option.

This is, in marketing terms an oversimplification in order to establish market differentiation via emotionally loading words and terms. Emotions are more accessible than logic. The latter takes effort.
(a further example of this tactic seen in their ownership of misleading terms like 'freedom to work legislation', and 'right to life ', 'real patriots' and even the "Tea Party" (movement/ schism in that it still comes under the banner of the Republicans rather than a separate party like the Greens.... outside the Democrats leftish tent)
The Australian Labor Party is the leftish party.(originally a union workers party). NB the US spelling was adopted in solidarity with the US labour side of the Labor wars in the late C19th- early C20th.