alien & sedition.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
  Republicans Abandoned by the Mainstream

Conservative blogger Soren Dayton uses a poll about the Libby commutation to note a trend that should disturb Republicans. Comparing ideological self-identification ("conservative"-"moderate"-"liberal") to party ID, he notes:
  • The GOP and conservatives are, basically, the same with Republicans being 30% and conservatives are 29%

  • Liberals are, however, only half the self-identifying Democrats with self-IDing Dems being 40%, while liberals only 19%

  • In other words, 50% or so of self-identified moderates feel comfortable identifying as Democrats.

  • In other words, almost no moderates are identifying as Republicans.
The GOP is not appealing to moderates at this moment while half of self-identified Democrats are moderates. That should scare us.
As Dayton notes, caveats apply. Bush hasn't helped the right's numbers, and it's plausible that they could recover after he's gone -- though given the GOP's current commitment to a war-and-terror strategy, they might not. At any rate, this is not a good sign for Republicans.

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I've seen those sorts of numbers before, and they're somewhat misleading. A large proportion of self-identifying moderates are in fact liberals who just don't think of themselves that way. That's the problem with measuring self-reporting attitudes based on "brands" rather than specific policy questions & behavior. But then I'm a recovering political scientist.....
Yeah, I was going to comment on that -- self-identification polls don't tell you much at all about what people really believe. The underlying factor behind those numbers no doubt has as much or more to do with the fact that "moderates" share philosophical and policy views with liberals, as it does with a GOP brand problem.
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