Who are the Republicans? First Guesses
As I said, I'll try my hand at more in-depth analysis of that big Fabrizio poll
of Republicans when I've had a chance to dig through it more. Meanwhile, a couple quick notes on it:
Mark Ambinder gives a great rundown
of the results. One part worth highlighting:
According to Fabrizio, the party’s social/cultural wing remains about the same size, while the economic wing has “shrunk by nearly two thirds.” Replacing those Republicans have been national security and defense voters. Free marketeers, per Fabrizio, comprise about 8 percent of the GOP electorate. They’re skeptical of government action, largely male, baby-boomerish, less frequent church-goers, and they’re not moralists. Fabrizio believes that these voters comprise Fred Thompson’s strongest voting block.
This speaks to the importance of conservative movement institutions in policing the GOP's ideological consensus. According to Fabrizio's results, social conservatives should be as strong as ever within the Republican coalition, while the influence of fiscal conservatives should be waning dramatically. Yet precisely the opposite is happening
. Much more to unpack on this point.
Reihan Salam adds his analysis
. Again, I'll comment more later, but on a first read, a couple things stick out. One is that Republican attitudes on economic issues are confusing and in many ways contradictory -- very many of them want both lower taxes and
more activist government (though in that regard they're not unlike the public at large
). Even more interesting is Salam's theory that two rough strategies emerge as ways forward for Republicans. One is "a moralistic domestic reformism,"
while the other is "War on Terror nationalism."
Salam -- unsurprisingly, if you've read his work -- favors the former; he believes that the latter will, in the long run, end up shrinking
the Republican coalition. I suspect he's right, which might make it all the more worrying to conservatives that their party's presidential frontrunner is the definitive War on Terror nationalist.
Of course, that fact worries me too, for other reasons.
Labels: Marc Ambinder, Reihan Salam, Republicans