Have you had the feeling that Republican Party is in disarray and is on the verge of having its support collapse like it did back in 2008? Well, congratulate yourself for being quite perspicacious! Democracy Corps has a new set of polling out that shows the GOP is experiencing sharp declines in support.
The numbers for Republicans are bad all the way around in this survey, but it is the comparison to election cycles where Democrats crushed them that are really important for this cycle. Groups that we won in large numbers in 2008 but did not turn out in 2010 are coming back to the party of FDR in large numbers.
Most importantly we are winning back seniors. Unlike the youth vote (where the president and Democrats are still weaker than 2008) the seniors can be counted on to turn out and generally vote they way they tell pollsters they will. From the Democracy Corps report:
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of voters disapprove of the Republicans in Congress—a staggering 22-point increase since last year at this time. Among seniors, the change is striking. Last year at this time, Republicans in Congress enjoyed marginal approval among seniors (45 to 43 percent). Today, two-thirds of seniors now disapprove and just 28 percent approve of the Republicans in Congress. Independents, too, have turned against this Republican Congress. Last year at this time, just 45 percent of independents disapproved of the Republicans in Congress—today 71 percent register their disapproval.After a year of debt ceiling hostage taking and other various examples of Republican policy priority, the number of senior citizens who disapprove of them in Congress has skyrocketed by 20 percentage points! That is a big, fat, hairy problem for Republicans even in supposedly safe districts. If you can’t carry the senior vote then you become much more vulnerable, even in a traditionally Republican district.
But it is not just overall disapproval that makes this report a flashing red light for Republicans this cycle. In this survey the GOP has lost a net of 10 points in who the nation thinks will do a better job on taxes. Check out this chart
In the last two years they have gone from a commanding 16 point advantage to a 6 point one. While they still enjoy a plurality of the voters they don’t have the majority they had and they are losing ground to the Democrats at a very fast clip.
This tends to indicate that the nation is getting the point that “Cut, Baby, Cut” is not a sound plan for funding our government, that the Republicans tax plans always benefit the top earners and that “Broadening the tax base” means taxing the middle class and the working poor more, while doing nothing to bring some balance to the 1%.
Worse, for all that the Republicans think that they have a winner with the culture war issue of abortion, the polling shows that it is a net loser for them. While most of the nation has heard them talking about Planned Parenthood and contraception, what they want them to be talking about is the economy, and the perception is that they are not.
There are strong pluralities favoring the President’s position on this issue over Republicans. Democracy Corps separated out the Catholics they interviewed and found that they actually have a higher net support for Mr. Obama’s policy than the general population. That is a very bad sign for an issue that just last week they thought they might hang their hat on.
So, things like pretty darn good for the Democrats at this point. But as always we have to put some caveats on the picture.
The economy was the main thing that allowed Republicans to sweep into power in the House and in many States. It was not like they had any new ideas, it was that the nation was desperate and rather depressed in 2010 and was willing to let them have another slot in the batters box.
If there is a major economic shock between now and election day (say Greece defaulting and exiting the Euro Zone) then things could change.
Then there is the fact that we are in the Citizens United era. There is a hell of a lot more money sloshing around out there than in 2008 and it would be the height of hubris to assume that it is not going to make a difference. The question is will there be such fatigue with political ads by the time of the election that it loses some effectiveness.
Overall the playing field in terms of perceptions of the parties and candidates looks to be favoring Democrats, but that is no guarantee of success. If we want to keep the White House, if we want a shot at taking back the House of Representatives, we want to keep the Senate and make inroads in the State Houses we are going to have to bust our asses this cycle.
One of the times you are most likely to lose is when you act as though your election (or re-election) is going to be a cake walk. For all that we have some positive numbers in the polling, that does not mean that we will not have to fight like rabid wolverines to be sure that the right women and men win in November.
So, enjoy the good news, let it motivate you to get out there and use this small advantage to really rub some Republican faces in the dirt!
The floor is yours.