Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The GOP candidates with moderates

It's a good thing for Democrats that Republican primary voters this year cared more about ideological purity than winning in the fall because the few candidates with appeal to moderates the GOP did nominate this year have done/are doing some pretty amazing things.

Out of all the Senate and Governor nominees PPP has polled on this year the only Republicans with positive numbers among moderates have been Rick Snyder, Tom Corbett, and Scott Brown:

-Snyder is viewed favorably 38/29 by voters in the middle in Michigan and has a 21 point lead in a state that Barack Obama won by 16 points.

-Corbett is narrowly viewed positively by moderates, 27/25, and is favored to win by double digits in almost every poll of the Pennsylvania Governor's race despite the state's strong blue turn in 2006 and 2008.

-Brown, whose favorability with moderates was 62/31, won the Massachusetts Senate special election by 5 points. That was a 31 point reversal from Obama's 26 point victory in the state.

The rest of the GOP class of 2010 candidates when it comes to moderates? Not too popular:

Candidate

Office

Favorability w/Moderates

Terry Branstad

Iowa Governor

37/44 (-7)

Mark Kirk

Illinois Senate

23/32 (-9)

Paul LePage

Maine Governor

31/41 (-10)

Rob Portman

Ohio Senate

23/33 (-10)

Bob Ehrlich

Maryland Governor

34/44 (-10)

John Stephen

New Hampshire Governor

23/35 (-12)

Pat Toomey

Pennsylvania Senate

23/42 (-19)

Ron Johnson

Wisconsin Senate

30/49 (-19)

John Raese

West Virginia Senate

27/47 (-20)

Marco Rubio

Florida Senate

27/47 (-20)

Bill Brady

Illinois Governor

17/37 (-20)

Dino Rossi

Washington Senate

34/56 (-22)

Meg Whitman

California Governor

29/52 (-23)

Carly Fiorina

California Senate

25/48 (-23)

Kelly Ayotte

New Hampshire Senate

28/52 (-24)

John Kasich

Ohio Governor

20/45 (-25)

Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor

29/54 (-25)

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senate

28/57 (-29)

Ken Buck

Colorado Senate

18/48 (-30)

Dan Maes

Colorado Governor

15/46 (-31)

Rick Scott

Florida Governor

22/57 (-35)

Roy Blunt

Missouri Senate

24/59 (-35)

Christine O’Donnell

Delaware Senate

14/63 (-49)

Sharron Angle

Nevada Senate

18/69 (-51)

Joe Miller

Alaska Senate

15/72 (-57)


Republicans will win a lot of these races anyway because the political climate is so bad for Democrats. But they could have made things a lot easier for themselves by appealing more candidates with appeal to the center. And when you look at the bottom of this list it looks like they definitely cost themselves a Senate seat in Delaware, probably cost themselves the Governor's office in Florida, and may have cost themselves Senate seats in Nevada and Colorado by nominating candidates with limited appeal to moderates.

25 comments:

JCordes said...

I suspect the 2016 Senate elections, should Obama in his second term be popular or Republican incumbent unpopular, will end up being analogous to 1986 and 2000, when enough Republican freshmen and sophomores lost that Democrats took control of the Senate.

Anonymous said...

"But they could have made things a lot easier for themselves by appealing more candidates with appeal to the center."

Moderates lean heavily toward Democrats. The country is something like 40% conservative, 40% moderate, 20% liberal. It's the Democrats who need to win a huge majority of moderates to be competitive.

The center of the political spectrum, the swing voters, are really independents. And Republican candidates are winning independents all across the country.

Anonymous said...

You keep on harping on Colorado! Just poll it once and forever with likely voters! Rasmussen: Buck +4, Ipsos: Buck +9.

Christian Liberty said...

Moderates are NOT the center.
Independents are the center.

You forfeit your credibility every time you try to suggest that moderates are the "center" and imply that Republicans need to cater to lefties and the political class elitists.

The more conservative candidates are, the more successful they usually are. When moderates are nominated, they lose (McCain, Dole). When conservatives are nominated, they win (Reagan, W).

The political class needs to stop pretending that moderate candidates are more electable. It is conservative candidates and conservative ideas that America is embracing.

Angle and Buck will very likely win in November.

And the problem in DE and FL is the sour grapes stubbornness of losing candidates and their backers to unite behind the winning candidates.

If DE is lost (which is by no means a given) then it is the fault of Castle and the establishment of the party, not the fault of O'Donnell.

If FL is lost (not likely) then it is the fault of McCollum and the establishment, not the fault of Scott.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

Ayotte had great numbers with moderates before the primary.

I think it's more a function of how contested primaries go. Only can avoid it if/when candidates collude to avoid primaries -- like McDonnell and his Lt. Gov. did in VA last year.

Christian Liberty said...

as much as I appreciate (not) your warnings about moderates where it comes to NV, CO, DE, and FL gov, I must notice not just what you said but what you did not say. you did not try to suggest that supporting principled conservatives could cost Republicans the senate seats in KY or FL or PA or WI or even WV. Are we finally conceding that conservative candidates are within the mainstream? Are we conceding that Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey are mainstream candidates that are likely to represent their states for the next six years?

Dustin Ingalls said...

Ben: Snyder won a hotly contested multi-candidate primary, and won partially because Hoekstra and the conservatives split the conservative vote, but he also was already tacking to the middle with his unique "tough nerd" ads.

"Moderates are NOT the center.
Independents are the center."

That's just not true. In this Michigan poll, 39% of moderates are Democrats, but 32% are Republicans and 30% independents. That's not much difference. 47% of independents are conservative, versus 41% moderate and only 12% liberal. So really, neither one is truly center, as far as voters define themselves. Independents are just as right-leaning as moderates are Democratic-leaning.

"If DE is lost (which is by no means a given) then it is the fault of Castle and the establishment of the party, not the fault of O'Donnell."

I'll give you FL and the McCollum base being stubborn (at least, as of the last time we polled the race), but that's not the case in DE. No objective look at the internals there would say otherwise. O'Donnell is viewed as too extreme for the state, while Castle is viewed overwhelmingly as "about right." The difference is the candidates and how they're viewed by the general electorate, not a matter of different turnout. We polled both Castle and O'Donnell against Coons with the same sample, for one, so there was no issue of people staying home (which manifests as not participating in the poll) and there was no difference in the amount of people who were undecided between the two matchups. Actually, fewer were undecided in the O'Donnell variation (16% vs. 20% for Castle-Coons), which is unusual when you have a well liked, well known incumbent. O'Donnell won the primary, so she has more energy on the GOP side than if Castle had won. Yet she can't win because everyone else dislikes her, whereas Castle was winning because he was pulling a huge amount of Democrats and trouncing with independents.

AG said...

I don't think the Republicans care more about purity than winning, as the previous poster clearly demonstrated, the Republicans genuinely believe conservatives are more electable.

Stephen Monteith said...

You're only telling half (and in some cases one-third) of the story. Where do the Democratic and third-party candidates in each of these races fall on the likeability scale?

Anonymous said...

And how many 'moderates' were there next to those not calling themselves 'moderates'?

Moderates care about moderates, everyone else considers them sell outs of principle, for the right price that only benefits their own particular special interests.

DBL said...

The problem with your ideology question is that it's self selecting. I decide if I'm a conservative, moderate, or liberal. I might say I'm a conservative and have the same views with someone who thinks he's a moderate. Most Republicans think they're conservatives, no matter where they are on the spectrum. Gallup has 72% of Republicans seeing themselves as conservatives.

The word "liberal" is now considered by some to be negative label, as being out of the mainstream. Democrats want to feel like they're in the middle and call themselves moderates. thedailykos considers themselves moderates. Gallup has Democrats as 23% conservative/37% moderate/39% liberal.

Overall, 42% of people see themselves as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. No matter where the middle is you should divide ideology in thirds to determine what is moderate. If Republicans got all the people who believe themselves conservative and Democrats got all the liberals Republicans could get a majority and lose moderates 28%-7%.

Christian Liberty said...

Dustin, re: Delaware

I was referring more to the messaging of the establishment party types (Castle, Cornyn, Rove, state party members, NRSC, etc.) - their attacks on O'Donnell before and since the primary and their refusal to support O'Donnell since the primary (the political class rather than public opinion). My objections (and the Tea Party "anger" in general) is directed toward the establishment party types, not toward the voters who may (at least for now) continue to follow their lead. You argue your case by pointing at the symptoms while I am referring to a proximate cause (negative messaging, a stubborn refusal to unify).

"O'Donnell is viewed as too extreme for the state, while Castle is viewed overwhelmingly as about right."

You base this on pre-primary polling, especially in comparing the numbers to Castle. Your thesis would only hold up if the same was true of O'Donnell's numbers after the primary (i.e. if the party did not unify). It is the sour grapes attacks of the establishment party types that may prevent a unified party when O'Donnell could otherwise win.

Back in July, would you have entertained the thought that a conservative Republicans could have led Manchin in WV? Then it's misleading to claim that O'Donnell cannot win with a unified party. Admittedly that would require more positive internals. But again, we have the stubbornness of the Castle camp to fault for standing in the way.

---

"39% of moderates are Democrats, but 32% are Republicans and 30% independents."

Well that leans to the left of the electorate (36/39/25) now, doesn't it?

Why is it every time you want to cheer up Democrats, you post about moderates rather than independents? If there's "not much difference" why such a fascination (or bias) towards moderates rather than independents? Your tell-it-straight reporting on new polls features vote splits by D/R/I ... but your cheer-up/Republicans-are-icky posts all of a sudden shift to moderates rather than independents. Today's Michigan post, for example, contains two mentions of "independents" and one of "undecideds" but no analysis of "moderates".

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty said:

"The more conservative candidates are, the more successful they usually are. When moderates are nominated, they lose (McCain, Dole). When conservatives are nominated, they win (Reagan, W). "

Since when have conservatives raised taxes? Reagan did. Reagan was a MODERATE!

Reality says:
*Roy Blunt, the moderate, is polling far ahead of Robin Carnahan.
*Rob Portman, the moderate, is polling far ahead of Lee Fisher.
*Sharron Angle, the arch conservative, is polling even with Harry Reid. EVEN with Harry Reid, a guy who has -15 approvals. That's hilarious.
*Ken Buck, the arch conservative, is polling even with Michael Bennet. EVEN with a Senator who's unpopular and has been there for a little under 2 years by election time.
*Ron Johnson, the moderate, is polling ahead of Russ Feingold.
*Dave Westlake, the conservative, was losing to Russ Feingold.
*Mike Castle, the moderate, was polling ahead of Chris Coons.
*Christine O'Donnell, the arch conservative, was polling behind Chris Coons AFTER the primary by Rasmussen.
*Dino Rossi, the moderate, was polling even or a little behind of Patty Murray.
*Clint Didier, the conservative was polling behind Patty Murray.
*Chuck DeVore, the arch conservative was polling behind Barbara Boxer
*Tom Campbell, the liberal Republican was polling ahead of Barbara Boxer


So, CL, why don't you listen to the facts?

Anonymous said...

It is funny, you talk so much about the enthusiasm gap -- but one reason for this is the GOP nominated candidates the faithful can get enthusiastic about. This may cost the GOP a few races, but the net result is more positive than if a string of milquetoast bald male RINO types had been nominated.

Anonymous said...

You can always get the answer you want by asking the question different ways.

If this were not the case, then there would be no business case for these polling companies.

Corporations hire these companies to develop questions slanted in such a way to elicit the particular outcome they want. General Dynamics -AIS does this all the time.

Anonymous said...

I am deep down a very conservative, but when asked I tend to say independent or moderate. If I will not tell you the truth, what in the you know what makes you believe you are getting the truth from these people you poll?

Anonymous said...

In fact, in many states conservatives make up majority of voters. In those states, a Republican who won 100% of conservatives could lose every single moderate and liberal and still win the election.

For the average state, if Republicans won half of moderates they'd win elections 60-40. Democrats need over 75% of moderates to win. Lucky for them, many self-professed moderates reliably vote for statist socialist politicians.

Al Pippin said...

70% of Republican voters identify themselves as conservative (and growing). In addition, they are far more inclined to vote in numbers than what moderate Republicans are. Needless to say, the vast majority of those conservatives will vote for conservative candidates. The GOP is quickly coming to realize that true conservatism now represents the ideological base of the CURRENT and FUTURE Republican Party - and that supporting the more moderate candidates, thereby alienating the conservative "base" is, for all practical purposes, a losing proposition. 2012 will most certainly be more of the same, with even larger numbers of moderate RINOs being driven from office. Your obsession with moderates, as being an important element of the Republican Party is, in my opinion, pure nonsense. What losses the Republican Party suffers in 2010 has far less to do with political gamesmanship than what it does with long term ideological purity. As a result, the Republican Party will become far more unified than of past years and will only gain in stature - well beyond 2010.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I must notice not just what you said but what you did not say. you did not try to suggest that supporting principled conservatives could cost Republicans the senate seats in KY or FL or PA or WI or even WV. Are we finally conceding that conservative candidates are within the mainstream?"

No. It's just that the GOP nominee is likely to win in all those states except maybe WV, which is a toss-up right now. But in KY, at least, Grayson would have put this contest away long ago. KY would be off the Dems' map completely. In FL, McCollum would have been perhaps slightly stronger against Sink, but if Rubio had not challenged Crist, he would have that seat locked up, as popular as he was across the partisan spectrum before Rubio came on the scene. Rubio will still probably win the seat, but more money will be spent challenging the seat on all sides than had Crist and Meek gone head-to-head. It's questionable what might have happened had Specter not been pushed out of the GOP; he might have faced a strong challenge from Sestak. But in this year, if he had simply pandered to the GOP base, I imagine Republicans combined with a solid lead with independents would have put him in at least as strong a position as Toomey is in. In WI, Johnson is still not very well known, and it's also the kind of place where a more moderate candidate like a Tommy Thompson probably would have blown Feingold out like Snyder is killing Bernero.

"thedailykos considers themselves moderates."

Not last I checked.

"The problem with your ideology question is that it's self selecting."

So is our party question, and in fact, everything else. We can't get inside people's heads--we can only report what they tell us. Besides, there is no single definition of what being a liberal, moderate, or conservative truly means anyway.

"You base this on pre-primary polling, especially in comparing the numbers to Castle. Your thesis would only hold up if the same was true of O'Donnell's numbers after the primary (i.e. if the party did not unify)."

Obviously we haven't polled DE again in the last week, but the press coverage for her has gotten worse. Even Bill O'Reilly is on her case, not to mention Karl Rove. If you can't get good coverage on Fox News, you have no hope as a Republican. She's avoiding every other media outlet, and now them too.

More to the point: the problem with her being viewed as too conservative obviously does not come from the GOP base--they voted for her, after all, and 53% of the primary voters found her to be "about right," with 55% seeing Castle as too liberal. Party unity is not going to have much to do with what the elites do, obviously. The voters bucked their cues, and they aren't going to change their behavior regardless of whether Castle and others come around to supporting O'Donnell. The real problem for O'Donnell, again, comes with Dems and indies. She has to get a huge proportion of them to win the race in such a blue state. That was Castle's success formula, and she'd have to follow it. As of now, it's not happening, and it almost certainly will not. Don't blame Rove, Castle, and company--their comments don't help her cause, but the real problem is O'Donnell herself.

"Back in July, would you have entertained the thought that a conservative Republicans could have led Manchin in WV?"

Yes.

"Then it's misleading to claim that O'Donnell cannot win with a unified party."

Not really. It takes more than a unified party to win in DE. Again, it takes significant crossover support and a solid lead with indies. She was not going to get that even if 100% of GOP voters and leaders rallied to her cause.

"Well that leans to the left of the electorate (36/39/25) now, doesn't it?"

Not any more than indies lean to the right of the electorate as a whole. You going to concede you're wrong or not?

The Eggplant said...

When Republicans do better among "Democrats" than "Moderates," the definition of "Moderates" seems a bit off. Just an observation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with stephen's question regarding where exactly the democratic candidates in these particular races stand with moderates. If moderates are like independents than just like your earlier posting you say they basically hate every politician right now so would be interesting to see how they are faring with this group.

Anonymous said...

Random side note: There have only been two polls of the Iowa Governor's race since mid-June, the latest of which was more than a month and a half ago. It'd sure be nice for someone to poll there...

DBL said...

I've read Greg Dworkin write in the Politico Arena that dailykos is moderate in response to a conservative post. I assume he speaks for the kos since their name appears every time he posts there.

If your state has registration, you're a Republican only if you register Republican. Some states don't have party registration, but if you regularly vote in the Republican primary it's fair to think of yourself as a Republican. There is no dispute that a Republican is someone who considers themselves a member of the Republican Party. Everyone has the same definition. Thus, party ID can be determined easily.

If someone tells you they're a Republican, female, 33, and white, and they're telling the truth, then that's what they are. It's easy to measure.

Views range widely on what conservatism, liberalism, and moderation are. What I consider conservative differs from some people I know. Someone may think someone else isn't a Republican due to their beliefs but beliefs don't make you a Republican, checking a box does.

If you're trying to determine where people stand on the political spectrum you'll divide them 33%/33%/33%. Where the center is may vary from country to country, but there is a center where half are on each side. When you say Republicans need to do well with moderates, the implication is that they need a majority of them to win a majority of votes.

Since 42% of people consider themselves conservative, Republicans can win with only a few moderates. If Republicans start getting the majority of moderates Democrats will be losing in landslides.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"When Republicans do better among "Democrats" than "Moderates," the definition of "Moderates" seems a bit off. Just an observation."

Uh, Republicans don't do better among Dems than moderates. Don't know what makes you think they do. Perhaps a misreading of our numbers.

NRH said...

Looks like Christian 'Herbie' Tyranny is off his meds again. Don't expect to see responses to logic from him, or factual information getting in the way of his rants.

 
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