Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Republicans and Reagan

First Read, via Political Wire, asks why Republicans are so fixated on Ronald Reagan.

It may be because Reagan is by far our most popular recent President. We've only done that poll in two states- Virginia and North Carolina- but I think the results would be similar elsewhere.

In Virginia 44% of respondents said Reagan was their favorite since 1980 to 23% for Barack Obama and 21% for Bill Clinton. Reagan also was tops with 44% of voters in North Carolina to 29 for Obama and 18% for Clinton.

There were a couple interesting things within the numbers in those places. Reagan finished first in every age group in both states (he was tied with Clinton for most popular with the under 30 crowd in North Carolina.) So even with a lot of voters who are barely old enough to remember Reagan, much less have voted for him, he comes out as the most popular. Also, his numbers with independents are even better than the overall ones- 57% in Virginia and 48% in North Carolina said he was their favorite former President.

Let's be honest- Ronald Reagan is probably the most recent Republican politician that voters nationally remember fondly- or at least think they remember fondly. He may be 21 years out of office but the Reagan mystique is still alive and if Republicans can make people think of him as the face of the party instead of the Bushes that is a good strategy for them. They don't remember the specifics of the Reagan years, just that everything seemed better then, whether it actually was or not.

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