Saturday :: Mar 18, 2006

Republican Voter Rancor, Part I

by pessimist

We here at The Left Coaster have been spending a fair amount of our bandwidth this week looking at the troubles the GOP is having with its membership. While there is certainly room for disagreement on how significant this trouble is, there are clear signs that this separation of the party membership from the current party controllers is real.

Somehow, I have become subscribed to email notices from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, which caught my attention this week considering our general discussion topic threads. After looking at them, I decided that they merited presentation for your comments. There are two other recent GQR Research surveys that I will cover today if time permits. If not, I will present them as soon as it does.

The information on this page is from their web site. All data on the flip side is from their summary. All other comments or observations of their data are mine. Any errors in presenting their data are also mine.

Republicans, Too
by Stan Greenberg and James Carville, March 1, 2006

Key Findings

* We have entered a new stage in the 2006 election campaign, where Republican voters now have become part of the problem for the GOP.
* In this poll, 18 percent of 2004 Bush voters are voting Democratic for Congress, while only 9 percent of Kerry voters are voting Republican.
* The mess in Washington and globally has created an electorate desperate for ideas and policies that will help ordinary Americans and the country.
* The strongest agenda includes raising the minimum wage, repealing the tax loophole that encourages companies to move operations overseas, replacing Bush’s prescription drug plan with a simple one that controls costs, implementing all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and creating tax incentives to expand the development of wind, solar, and biofuel technologies.

Democracy Corps - Republicans, Too (Memo) [PDF]

Democrats can run a campaign to change Washington so it works for ordinary Americans and can offer an agenda that dominates any Republican claims on progress. With his personal approval hitting new lows here, we very much want 2006 to be about Bush's stewardship for the country. For sure, as we saw this past week, the Republicans will seek to make this about something else.

Summary of the survey:

Democracy Corps - Republicans, Too (Survey) [PDF]


This memo is based on a Democracy Corps survey of 1,135 likely voters conducted February 23-27, 2006.

The official summary data of the survey, with my observations and comments, begins over the fold.

All those questioned were currently registered to vote, and 99% had voted in the 2004 election. Those who did not were 'Ineligible, not registered, or too young'. 89% had voted in 2002, and 85% were almost certain to vote in 2006, with the remainder probably going to vote.

62% believe the country is on the wrong track,
and 55% disapprove of King George's job performance.

Despite all of this, the item respondents felt warmest to (on a hot-warm-cool-cold scale) in question 9 of the survey was - King George (41%)! In descending order, The National Rifle Association was next (Even though 59% owned no guns! See: Q66 of the survey), followed by the Democrats and the Republicans (in that order by 1%), and 'pro-life/anti-abortion groups', all of which indicates that the survey population was fairly conservative. (The respondent population data presented below bears this out.)

They were coolest toward gay marriage, the Iraq war, Unka Dickie, King George, the Republicans, immigration, and 'pro-life/anti-abortion groups' - which indicates to me (the non-professional pollster) that most of the major Republican issues are not resonating with the voters, gay marriage being the exception.

Thus, when asked which party's candidate they will vote for in 2006, it's small wonder that the Democrats have noticeable leads in both races, 12 points in the Senate races.

But the parties cannot count on solid support. Of those not currently supporting Democrats, 15% said there is a fair chance they would by November. On the other hand, 13% of those not currently supporting Republicans had a fair chance of voting GOP in November.

This indicates a bias against incumbents,
as 59% want the country to take a different direction.

This is supported by the results of the question about the direction of the Congress: 61% think Congress needs to change.

There are many reasons for which the Congress has earned this by their lack of stewardship over the welfare of the nation:

* The repondents don't like Medicare as amended.

* Even though they believe the Iraqi people are better off now than they were, it wasn't worth the cost in American lives and dollars. They are essentially split down the middle as to whether to stay in Iraq or leave.

* Congressional pay is a big issue. While the respondents feel strongly (2:1) that Congressmen should get no more pay raises until the budget is balanced (compared to raising the minimum wage for workers), they lean toward no Congressional pay raises until the American worker earns more (over balancing the budget).

To be fair to the Congressmembers, without raising the minimum wage, I don't see what they can do to help the American worker earn more. I read this as supporting the common contention of conservatives that the working class doesn't understand the connection between the law, employment, and wages.


The Federal budget has to become balanced, and everything allocated - black ops or not - needs to be listed on it. Tough choices will have to be made until that deficit per capita ($25,300 for every man, woman and child in the United States as of November 19, 1994.) doesn't nearly equal what a typical American worker earns ($44,389 according to that unbelievable U.S. Bureau of the Census, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004.)!

After raising the debt ceiling, which added another $30,000 per capita [no data available to support this contention yet], we now have to be owing more than we earn!

But I digress.

Should The Dems Win Control

The respondents were asked about whether the stated Democratic legislative goals (listed as part of the question) would make them more likely to support a Democratic candidate. Collating the various degrees of warmth pro versus anti, 63% of those polled would more likely support a Democratic candidate.

Only 16% were less likely to support a Democrat after hearing the goals.

The two goals that the respondents felt were the most important to the nation were to scrap Medicare Part D and replace it, and to subsidize alternative fuels through tax incentives.

In a different split of Democratic goals presented to those polled, these numbers and priorities were repeated.

The reasons for the first are becoming more obvious every day, but the second indicates why the war was considered not worth it, and why Congress needs to change.

Congress is clearly either in Big Oil's pocket, or neutralized into ineffectiveness by the current political makeup of the Congress. We the People aren't happy about that.

We are tired of paying high prices for gas,
which shows up a month later as grossly higher oil company profits.

But things are not hopeless for the GOP. After being read a statement by 'a Republican candidate' (goals included in the question), 49% (responding to one split) to varying degrees of warmth were more likely to support that candidate, while (responding to the other split) 52% were more likely. The difference in the splits was:

In the first, numerical statistics were cited to support the GOP position, while in the second, familiar White House talking points were used to support the GOP position.

The results indicate that you can still use Happy Talk to fool some of the people all of the time.

When asked to select one of the party choices (as presented) to support, the Republicans held a strong position, but the Democrats were still preferred by a 50-40 margin with only 10% undecided. This indicates yet another close race in the fall, and the gap is small enough for the GOP to overcome, whether by honestly winning voter support or through the diabolical Diebold Stragetem.

Clearly, the Democrats are on the spot to perform, not the GOP.

In an effort to understand issues the Democrats might exploit, the respondents were asked about current issues which engender strong doubts about the GOP performance in power. In all but one of the issues presented, the respondents felt strong doubts about the GOP performance concerning lobbyists, Big Oil, Big Drug, illegal immigration, education, no-bid Halliburton contracts, foreign management of strategic assets, and 'tax relief' to the Topper$, by margins approximating 2:1. The only issue where the split wasn't 2:1 (flood prevention funding) was 58-40, still a sizeable difference.

The two issues that concerned the most respondents can be summed up in one word - cronyism.

The biggest single concern was expressed as the lack of funding for body armor for US troops while Halliburton is awarded huge no-bid contracts, with the next biggest concern being the Dubai Ports World fiasco. This indicates that the conduct of the 'War on Terra' remains both the single biggest opportunity and the single biggest obstacle to the Democrats.

I'll deal with the obstacle first.

Because the war is involved in the top two concerns, all the GOP has to do is Happy Talk the issues while presenting their 'accomplishments', and they should see some positive effects in their support numbers. This GQR Research poll has already indicated the possibilities above. Survey question 52 points out three issues by which the GOP might successfully present themselves as performing well.

But the fact that these two issues are major negative concerns of the voters presents the Democrats with their best opportunity to weaken the image of the GOP as competent managers of the war, and by extension, the nation and the economynd win sufficient support to win in November (assuming no Diabolical Diebold Strategem being utilized).

The other issues point this out. Combine some issues for commonality, say, concerns about Dubai Ports World, Big Drug, Big Oil, Halliburton, and corruption in general, and you have touched the major issue of 34% of the respondents - without going into 'tax relief' issues, which might additionally be incorporated without stretching the theme too much. Add in the six percent who responded that every issue presented was very important to them, and the majority is in range.

Personal Attributes Of The Survey Population

Of those who responded, 52% were female, 65% married, 55% (being conservative) had a household income of $50K or more, 72% had at least come college, 78% non-union, 79% White, 56% no household ever served in the military (Hmmmmmmm), equally split knowing/not knowing someone currrently serving in the military, 44% were between ages 40 and 59, with 21% over 64 being the largest single group and skewing the Bell Curve.

40% claimed Democratic Party affiliation, 34% Republican, and 27% Independent (some with major party leanings). Bush voters outnumbered Kerry voters by 1%, with Ralph Nader scoring the Big Goose Egg. 79% claimed they were moderate to conservative in their politics.

55% were members of Protestant denominations, which 40% said were moderate to liberal while 45% claimed something more stringent. 42% of all respondents attended religious services weekly,

No Muslims were surveyed.

My Conclusions

While the Democrats are presented with opportunities in this poll, it isn't clear that they are capable to taking advantage of this knowledge. It would take skillful and knowledgeable politicians to take advantage, and the Democrats have yet to display the necessary qualifications or abilities.

While the Republicans are presented with the factual evidence that their support is weakening, they are also assuaged with the knowledge that they have a chance to again strengthen that support. They would need to rebuild King George as a competent leader, and present some kind of clear benefit to the short-sighted voters (for instance, yet another tax cut). Add in the fact that Happy Talk works with a portion of the electorate, and the Democrats weaknesses are all that are needed to complete a GOP victory in the mid-term election, even without using the Diabolical Diebold Strategem.

The real balance of power has to lie in the hands of the electorate. If they are willing to settle for 'Stay the course' Republican policies to influence their votes, then they might as well abandon their desire for major change in the course of the nation and the Congress. 'Business as usual' never produces changes. But if they really want the changes they claim in this survey to want, then they they have to be willing to dump an incumbent who isn't doing the job - no matter how well-funded or how much they may like him/her personally - and put someone else in office, even someone from another party.

That alone will induce major change.

But, bottom line, voters also need to recognize that their major concern - cronyism - is exactly why things have gotten the way they are. They have to be willing to stand up to corporate lobbyists with fat contribution checks funding slick ad campaigns in favor of their pet politicians. They have to be willing to make the effort to find that new face that stands for what they want, and then vote that person into power.

Then they will have to make the effort necessary to keep that person from going over to the Dark Side.

To sum it up, if the voters desire change, then they will have to become an active part of a functioning governmental process and stop letting the Topper$ have an open field.

Otherwise, they should just STFU and take what they get from the GOP - and like it!

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