Friday, February 12, 2010

Tea Party Thoughts

So far the most prominent 'Tea Party' candidates getting some traction in their respective GOP primaries don't look like general election liabilities. In Florida's averages show Charlie Crist up 46-34 on Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio actually winning by a slightly better 45-32 margin. In Kentucky an average of PPP and Rasmussen's most recent polls has Rand Paul up 45-38 on Jack Conway and 45-37 on Dan Mongiardo to Trey Grayson's leads of 42-37 and 47-35 over them. And our Texas poll this week found Debra Medina leading Bill White by six points, pretty much the same as Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Perry.

Now it should certainly be noted that voters don't really know Rubio, Paul, and Medina yet and it's possible that they could prove to be problem nominees for the GOP. At the same time Republican voters are so fired up right now and independents are so disenchanted with Democrats that I wouldn't write off the possibility of Republicans winning no matter who their nominee is in a lot of races this year, even in states/districts that are normally competitive. Simply put I'm not sure having 'Tea Party' nominees is going to be a big problem for the GOP.

What could be a big issue for Republicans though- as our Virginia 5 poll showed- is having tea party candidates who run as independents to the right of the GOP nominee. We found such a candidate pulling 19% of the vote, holding Robert Hurt to 27% and letting Tom Perriello win easily with 44%.

Here's the big question: should Democrats be giving financial assistance to these 'Tea Party' candidates to get on the ballot as independents? It may seem like an odd concept but Republicans certainly did it with Ralph Nader and that paid off for them. There are going to be a lot of races decided by 4 points or less this fall and right wing independents pulling 5% could get some Democrats reelected this year even if they can only pull 48% of the vote. I'd love to see a Democratic group formed that raises money to do mail and media for Tea Party candidates portraying them as the only 'real conservative' in the race- unconventional means might be necessary to save some seats this year.


Christian Liberty said...

Tea Party candidates are not general election liabilities. When 75% of independents have favorable views of the Tea Party movement, why would anyone be surprised that Tea Party candidates are highly electable?

Clearly, Democrats are still stuck in denial.

Rodrigo Blanco said...

Actually Ralph Nader has never received any significant amount of campaign cash from Republican supporters with respect to the totals he raised during his presidential campaigns (if you do a little research). Nothing that would have swung his popularity of vote margins by any significant margin at least. So, there's not much evidence supporting any coordinated efforts on the part of Republicans to derail Democratic influence by heavily contributing to his campaign. This is however a popular line amongst certain Democrats who want an excuse for why their candidates didn't do better in certain states. But your suggestion with respect to the Tea Party candidates is granted.

S&B Digital Creations said...

If the GOP would stop pushing moderate candidates we would not be faced with the tea party supporting an independent candidate.

Angry Loner said...

At last weekend’s inaugural Tea Party Convention, there was much bloviating about “oppressed” Americans “suffering” under the Obama Administration’s “tyranny.” Judge Roy More, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, even delivered a rousing sermon comparing our President to King George III, the British ruler overthrown in the American Revolution.

Nothing better illustrates the utter absurdity of these delusions than contrasting the Tea Party with an actual, grassroots, democratic movement created to confront real, rather than imagined, tyranny.

Armed with camera phones, laptops and an iron will, these courageous individuals communicate their message to the world even without the journalists imprisoned by Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime.

Moreover, while Americans generally use Facebook and Twitter to pour over the excruciating minutae of modern life, the Greens employ these social networking websites to disseminate information, plan operations and mobilize their organization.

Armed with camera phones, laptops and an iron will, these courageous individuals communicate their message to the world even without the journalists imprisoned by Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime.

Censorship, harassment, intimidation, coercion, mass arrests, public beatings and de-facto executions by government-sponsored death squads. These are the harsh realities of living under tyranny. If the Tea Party movement’s petulant populists want to witness its horrors first-hand, I implore them to purchase a one-way ticket to Tehran. I suspect they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Read more @

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about - saying that "... Independents pulling 5% could get some of the Democrats reelected this year." Huh? First of all, Independents represent more than a third of those who vote in this country - and not 5%, as you stated or implied. Secondley, Independents have been voting lately somewhere between 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 in favor of Conservatve / Republican candidates. And finally, your suggestion that, by pitting a Tea Party candidate against a Conservative - against an Independent - against a Republican, or any other conceivable matchup between those candidates on the political "right" could somehow produce better results for the Democratic candidate is, in fact, incredibly naive, if not downright stupid. The fact of the matter is that, in general, voters on the "right" will, in turn, vote for the candidate most conservative in their respective views; be it a Tea partyer, Independent, Conservative or Republcan. If you think back to Scott Brown, in his recent (Senatorial) win in Masachussetts (of all states), he referred to himself, first as an Independent / Conservative, then and only then, as a Republican. The one and only problem, regarding the GOP (as a party)is that voters on the "right" will no longer vote into office a candidate who is deemed as more "moderate" or "progressive" than not. The future of the GOP will most certainly become far more conservative than what it has, of late, become. Republcans (in general) who are not, incumbants or otherwise, need not apply / reapply - as they are GONE - or soon will be! As for the Democrats, they too will be changed. And if not - OH WELL! The days of liberal / progressive political Democrats (as they are currently defined) are clearly numbered. Those who think not - or otherwise continue to live in a state of denial, need only to look more closely at the current polls - and how they are trending. Indeed, the sleeping GIANT has most definitely been awakened. HELLO!

John said...

I think that one key point to consider in polling for a "tea party candidate", &c., is that every race and every local grassroots tea party is just a bit different.

In NY-23, the arguably "tea party" candidate, Hoffman, had he several months in a general election, may have come out as a viable 'de facto Republican' nominee.

While no independent would likely challenge a Charlie Crist in a general election and expect to win, congressional districts or non-toss-up states with incumbent 'moderates' might be more receptive.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

@Anonymous --

It's a no-brainer of a point. A third party candidate pulling 5% of the votes on the right can re-elect a vulnerable Democrat incumbent who maxes out at, say, 48% of the vote.

@va5thdistrict -- Anyway, yes -- if the GOP nominates good conservative candidates, the Tea Party vote isn't a problem, as it'll go Republican.

In districts that nominate a liberal Republican, it could be a problem.

Fortunately, the Tea Party voters have seemed pretty pragmatic so far -- they'll vote for a moderate who is good on fiscal issues, like Scott Brown, instead of going for the most conservative candidate who isn't a serious option to win.

Brown was good enough; Scozzafava was too liberal.

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