Skip to main content

House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor stand in front of a white flag of surrender
Clearly oppressed and underrepresented.
Last week, I wrote about the polling that indicates exactly how the country feels about Republicans. This week, it's time to write about the polling that shows just how Republicans feel about the country.

In the aftermath of the government shutdown created by the intransigence of the House, the Republican Party's polling has been unquestionably abysmal. A majority of the country believes it's a bad thing they control the House of Representatives; three-quarters of the country believes that Republican members of Congress don't deserve reelection; and by a nearly four-to-one margin, Americans think that Republicans in Congress care more about their own ideological pursuits than about the country as a whole.

Achieving this sort of polling numbers doesn't happen by accident. Rather, it takes hard work and fervent dedication to a cause to achieve that level of indignity. And when there is a group of elected officials who have worked so hard to achieve massive unpopularity, it raises questions about the electorate who supported their campaigns. Fortunately, many of these questions have now been answered, as you will see below the fold.

Earlier this week, ABC News published a poll regarding basic views about gender, race and religion. When broken down by partisanship, the results are shocking. Some of the topline numbers are worth quoting in full:

• Among all adults, 53 percent think women have fewer opportunities than men in the workplace. But that ranges from 68 percent of Democrats to 38 percent of Republicans, a difference of 30 percentage points. Comparing the most unlike groups, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, it’s 76 vs. 35 percent.

• Forty-one percent overall think nonwhites have fewer opportunities than whites in society. Fifty-six percent of Democrats say so, as do 62 percent of liberal Democrats (more than the number of nonwhites themselves who say so, 51 percent). Among Republicans that dives to 25 percent.

• Forty-three percent of Americans say it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress – but the range here is from six in 10 Democrats and liberals alike to just 26 percent of conservatives and 23 percent of Republicans. Instead two-thirds or more in these latter two groups say it makes no difference to them.

• Just 23 percent overall say it would be a good thing if more nonwhites were elected to Congress; 73 percent instead say it makes no difference to them. Seeing this as a good thing peaks at 50 percent among liberal Democrats (far more, in this case, than the number of nonwhites themselves who say so, 29 percent). Among conservative Republicans, it’s 5 percent.

These numbers are frightening. What is at issue here are not simply differences in attitudes and behaviors; rather, one ideological group has a grip on reality, and the other seems completely divorced from it. For example, statistics about the ratio of women to men in senior private sector leadership are shocking: Women comprise less than 20 percent of boardmembers of Fortune 500 companies, yet fewer than four in ten Republicans believe that women have fewer opportunities. As of 2010, nonwhites comprised around 15 percent of boardmembers of Fortune 500 companies, and yet only 25 percent of Republicans feel that nonwhites have fewer opportunities in society.

The utter failure on the part of the conservative electorate to understand the uphill battles that women and ethnic minorities face in society leads to the polarized view of their representation in elective office shown in the survey, where only 23 percent of Republicans think more women in office would be a good thing, and only 5 percent of conservative Republicans think more nonwhites in office would be a good thing. But failing to understand the basic parameters of discrimination and not seeking to rectify it is one thing. Even more shocking, whites and conservatives feel that "people like them" are actually underrepresented in Congress! From the same survey:

Another result speaks to alienation more generally: Just 31 percent of Americans overall say “people like you” are well represented in Congress. It peaks among nonwhites and Democrats, but even then just at 47 and 43 percent, respectively – falling to 24 percent of whites and 27 percent of conservatives.
This is a shocking statistic. Even though 82 percent of the House of Representatives is white, and even though Republicans have a solid majority, nonwhites were twice as likely to say that people like them were well represented as were white people, and Democrats were far more likely to say they were well represented than were conservatives. It's not that Republicans and conservatives simply don't recognize the lack of representation faced by others; they feel they are the victims. They feel they aren't being given a fair shake.

If there was ever a question whether this current crop of Republican politicians would change their stripes in response to their abysmal polling, or figure out some way of trying to appeal to women and minority voters, the answer is clearly no: The conservative base that elects them lives in an alternate universe where they are the oppressed and underrepresented in society. When the base of one political party seems to be inhabiting a world totally uninfluenced by truth, there can be little hope of negotiation or compromise.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

PLS, Yosef 52, Odysseus, glitterscale, Shockwave, LynChi, billlaurelMD, eeff, xynz, Sandy on Signal, dpeifer1949, eyeswideopen, scribe, afox, Doc Allen, gayntom, revsue, plan9pub, Eyesbright, wdrath, defluxion10, rlharry, lcrp, dkmich, walkshills, Black Max, bloomer 101, radarlady, Robin7459, ratzo, owlbear1, PSzymeczek, cspivey, Little Lulu, Steve in Urbana, kerplunk, bunsk, xaxnar, LeftOverAmerica, tarheelblue, Kimball Cross, Lefty Coaster, The Hindsight Times, Libby Shaw, CA Nana, kurt, OHdog, BeninSC, Dragonminder, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, peagreen, Loudoun County Dem, Dartagnan, ColoTim, yoduuuh do or do not, LillithMc, Dave in Northridge, Wreck Smurfy, malie, Ralphdog, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, HappyinNM, OleHippieChick, Aureas2, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, tofumagoo, pickandshovel, Jeff Y, luckylizard, cactusflinthead, legendmn, Remediator, kravitz, stevenwag, Tortmaster, commonmass, coppercelt, pyegar, FogCityJohn, gramofsam1, Observerinvancouver, marsanges, mookins, Polly Syllabic, cocinero, wrpereir, annieli, I love OCD, Liberal Capitalist, slowbutsure, Mr MadAsHell, FarWestGirl, laurnj, IllanoyGal, thomask, BarackStarObama, ratcityreprobate, Mentatmark, allergywoman, Laurel in CA, Monsieur Georges, Fredamae, OldDragon, anodnhajo, cwsmoke, Siri, ahumbleopinion, The Lone Apple, a2nite, This old man, jan4insight, Syoho, Arahahex, Buckeye54, sexgenderbody, tn mountain girl, live1, newinfluence, aresea, alice kleeman, D minor, howabout, Icicle68, oslyn7, skepticalcitizen, TheDuckManCometh, bobwilk, richardvjohnson, Ticorules, jbsoul, gnothis, travelerxxx

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site