Friday, April 15, 2016


My habitual gloom was reinforced when I read this headline from Gallup:
Clinton's Image Among Democrats at New Low
But the news isn't that bad:
... Clinton's current net favorable rating of +36 among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents is based on 66% who give her a favorable rating and 30% who give her an unfavorable rating....

The degree of the depths to which Clinton has descended is evident when compared with her highest net favorable rating (+63, among Democrats) in early November. This means her current net favorable rating among her own partisans is about half of what it was at its peak last fall.
The chart looks bad:

But the Republicans are even less enthusiastic about their own candidates -- all of them:
Trump currently has a +9 net favorable rating among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, based on 52% favorable and 43% unfavorable ratings. Cruz is at +8, with 48% favorable and 40% unfavorable....

Kasich's current +26 is down from his all-time high of +35 in March....

Kasich is inching up, but even he has lower net favorables in his own party than Hillary Clinton does in hers. And Cruz! As you can see in the chart, his net favorable rating has plummeted from 48% to 8%. I've been thinking he's the likely nominee, but now he has the stink of the GOP establishment on him, and maybe that's why his party hates him. Or maybe it's just that he's challenging Trump, who's loved by every Republican except the ones who hate him.

Hard-fought primaries generally have this effect on voters. (Here's a Pew poll from May 2008 in which Barack Obama's favorables are slipping.) But I'm pleasantly surprised to learn that Republicans are angrier at their candidates than Democrats are at theirs. (The two Democratic candidates were pretty nasty to each other in the debate last night, and advocates on both sides are quite hostile, but Clinton's numbers are not bad and the numbers for Sanders are very good.)

I think this is because, for all the Sanders talk about revolution, most Democrats still see politics in conventional terms, while Republicans are now like a radical army that's seized quite a few provinces but can't quite take over the Presidential Palace, which is leading to vicious infighting among rebel leaders. Most Democrats think Clinton and Sanders are having a vigorous policy debate; Republicans think it might be time to start executing collaborators.

I still don't think this is going to result in a Republican crack-up -- once intraparty fighting ends, GOP voters tend to fall in line, which is why folks like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham still have jobs after surviving Tea Party primary challenges. But resentments linger -- even if Ted Cruz is the nominee, I don't think he's ever going to get back to 48% net favorables within his party. A guy who worked so hard not to be John McCain or Mitt Romney will run as a suspect candidate in his party anyway. A guy who took great pains not to have any enemies to his right is now suspect because he made one: Donald Trump. (I know I'm supposed to regard Trump as not really conservative, but if you're a voter who wants a Mexican-financed border wall, a Muslim ban, and terrorist torture, Trump is now the conservative reference standard.)

On the Democratic side, I think the most visible Sanders supporters have this revolutionary fervor, and will stay home or vote for Jill Stein in November, but maybe the stereotypical Berniestan isn't really the average Bernie voter. There might be less bad blood on this side than I thought. That would be nice.


mlbxxxxxx said...

Lindsey Graham still has a job because he had something like 6 or 8 Tea Party challengers in the his last primary. Not because the GOPers "fall in line." It is because they are so fractured now they can't even mount a coherent primary challenge. The GOP establishment is only still in charge, to the degree they are, because the insurgents in their party couldn't organize themselves into a Chinese fire drill.

Tengrain said...

Thanks Steve, that's a good analysis and it definitely perked up my gloomy thoughts.

I keep coming back to how The Establishment must be desperate if they are in any way counting on Ted Cruz—who is absolutely a theocrat—to rescue them. The GOP has used and abused the Christian Right for decades, and it must really pain them to support him.

Or as I sometimes short-hand it: Drowning men will always swim to a sinking ship.



AllieG said...

I concur in your opinion.

Tom Hilton said...

Yeah, as acrimonious as it has gotten on the Democratic side, that's being driven by a small percentage of Democrats (or more precisely, an even smaller percentage of Democrats along with a bunch of independents and former Paultards). On the Republican side, the ragegasm is being driven by the whole base.

And as Josh Marshall points out, Trump's polling is actually getting stronger within the GOP (even as it gets weaker in the general).

Luigi said...

Once HRC is elected, she'll probably get the same largely positive reaction she's received in every job she's held and excelled at. In this country, we do not like women to run for office. But, we love them when they do a good job.

Unknown said...