alien & sedition.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
  So What's Happening Here?

What does it mean that Barack Obama is currently the third choice of Iowa Republican voters in the general election -- after Romney and Giuliani but before Thompson and McCain? What does it mean that, as the campaign goes on, abortion apostate Rudy Giuliani is losing strength not among conservative voters, but among Republican-leading independents?

Of course it's far too little data to draw any real conclusions. But for the sake of positing a theory, let's go back to the Fabrizio poll we discussed about a month ago. As you may recall, the poll described, among other things, the emergence of two very interesting constituencies within the GOP coalition: "Heartland Republicans" and "Government Knows Best Republicans." My capsule description:
The former, constituting 8% of the GOP electorate, are "more pragmatic and less ideological," worried about gas prices but supportive of government action on economic issues and climate change, and somewhat Midwestern. The latter group are 13% of the party, the "strongest supporters of government intervention to solve social and environmental problems," as well as being "skeptical of the Patriot Act" and of military spending generally, heavily female, and "more likely to be found on the coasts."
So here you have a good 21% of 2000 Republican voters with distinctly moderate -- we might even say progressive -- politics. And who, in the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, represents them? McCain has glued himself to Bush on the war. And Giuliani's standing with R-leaning independents has sunk precisely during the time in which he has run away from his previous reputation as a moderate and made a name for himself as one of the most belligerent, partisan candidates in the race.

There's at least a fifth of the Republican party up for grabs if the GOP's own candidates continue to amp up the partisanship and crowd each other on the right side of the spectrum. One data point -- that Iowa poll -- suggests that Barack Obama, with his "post-partisan" rhetoric, might be the Democrat best positioned to peel their support away from the GOP. But all the Democratic candidates might be well advised to take note of them. I'm not saying they should flee the Democratic base -- far from it. Rather the point is that candidates should be confident that in making the case for progressive values, they're actually taking the fight to the Republicans.

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Great summary, Paul. You have definately got the same grasp I do - The poll is really indicating that a small minority of probable GOP voters are willing to vote for Obama. That's probably not an uncommon thing, but it does indicate something different from the stereotypical mindset. You just phrase it better.

To go further into the statistics, it indicates is that Obama's support amongst GOP voters is less vaporous than only Giuliani or Thompson. All of the other candidates are statistically unverifiable in this poll - including Huckabee, Paul, Tancredo, and McCain.
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