Friday, August 20, 2010

Generic Ballot and the Tea Party

It's a given that there's a strong relationship between how people feel about President Obama and how they're planning to vote this fall but it's a little remarkable just how strong that correlation is on our last national poll. Voters who approve of the job Obama's doing are planning to vote Democratic by an 82-7 margin. Voters who disapprove of the job he's doing are planning to vote Republican 82-4.

When people's voting preferences are that tied up in how they feel about Obama it's a reminder that 90% of the stuff campaigns do is pretty irrelevant because their fates are tied up in stuff beyond their control. Of course that other 10% can definitely make the difference in a very close campaign.

And not all Republicans are winning the Obama disapprovers by an 82-4 margin, a reminder that the party has weakened itself with some of its choices on who to nominate. For instance our last Kentucky poll found Rand Paul ahead only 67-16 with folks who don't like the President. Ken Buck's only up 78-10 with them. The Tea Party candidates are also helping to generate levels of Democratic unity that run above the national averages. Harry Reid leads Sharron Angle 94-3 with voters who like Obama. And Michael Bennet leads Buck 87-4.

There's been an increasing volume of stuff written lately saying the Republicans nominating Tea Party candidates is not a big deal. It's true that the GOP may still end up winning all of these races. But the reality is that a year ago Harry Reid was dead in the water and Charlie Crist was a slam dunk as a new Republican Senator and that Michael Bennet has a 32/48 approval rating and that Barack Obama stands at 37/58 in Kentucky. None of these races had to be competitive but the choices the GOP has made have afforded them that status.


DBL said...

People who disapprove of Obama are saying one thing in one survey and another in another survey, because the numbers you show say that they don't plan on voting Republican by a 82-4 margin.

If you want to show that the "tea party" candidates are doing worse than other Republicans, then compare them to other Republicans. I looked through your Illinois and Pennsylvania polls and didn't see how Toomey and Kirk are doing with those who disapprove of Obama. I haven't been able to find that in any of the information you've published.

Perhaps I'm missing this data. All this seems to show is that people who approve of Obama are monolithic and will vote Democrat, while people who don't are far more likely to vote the other party.

Anonymous said...

The fact that someone has an "R" next to their name has proven costly for Republican and conservative voters (see Charlie Crist!)...many of us feel by electing more "moderate" people there's no discernable difference (SEE BUSH SPEND!) you're misssing the point with your analysis - we are willing to gamble to get more conservative members elected, even at the risk of losing - because "D" and "R" do not seem to get it. Collins and Snowe are 2 more examples of people with an "R" that are in favor of more purification is needed and to do that you run the risk of having more competitive general elections - you can call that a negative - but long term it's nothing but positive. Especially this year because at the end of the day it is not an incumbant revolt---if you have a "D" next to your name you're done this November...there's going to be a much more conservative discussion in Washington come Nov., 2nd.

joe said...

Let's not forget Pennsylvania, where the Tea Party managed to take a slam-dunk legacy Republican seat and turn it into an even contest.

They're leaving seats all over the field. This country was all ready to fall in love with moderate republicans - look at Mike Castle - but they keep losing their primaries.

Anonymous said...

If your not a teabagger something is wrong with you.

DBL said...

Republican legacy? Are you talking about Arlen Specter? He was always hanging by a thread. He only had an election once in a year Republicans lost seats, yet, with one exception, he produced mediocre results against underfunded lesser known competition.

If Specter had gotten the Republican nomination the only reason Sestak wouldn't have beaten him a general was because it was a Republican year. Again.

On the other hand, Pat Toomey leads Sestak by 9 points according to PPP. That's hardly a toss-up. Rand Paul has a comfortable lead in every poll but one.

Sharron Angle has her own problems, one of which is Harry Reid and his attack machine. Reid had already painted Sue Lowdon as "chicken lady," so I'm skeptical she would've been a much better candidate. And really, Angle's problems aren't her actual positions on the issues, but what she says and does.

Outside of Angle, the candidate with biggest liability is an establishment guy, Mark Kirk. If he was running against anyone else Kirk would've lost this race by now.

Republicans may lose some seats that are out there, but it's difficult to see who would've done better. There was nothing special about Greyson, Norton, or Lowden.

If anything, the thing that will cost the Republicans seats is that Dean Heller, Tommy Thompson, George Pataki, and other popular Republicans opted not to run.

Lisa Krempasky Crestwood said...

I'm tired of people bashing tea parties. The attendees are not doing anything at all that is wrong. Their view is no more invalid than those who do not attend. This is America for goodness sakes. Let people view the views and let the best view win.

Anonymous said...

When, may I ask, is this never ending obsession with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party going to end. It's reached a point where it's become more comical and less credible. Enough already!

Christian Liberty said...

When you have Harry Reid on the ropes, there is no reason to compromise. Nevadans chose the best candidate, Sharron Angle, to most responsibly and sensibly represent the people in the senate.

Christian Liberty said...

"While 67% of the political class believes the U.S. is moving in the right direction, a full 84% of mainstream voters believe the nation is moving in the wrong one. The political class overwhelmingly supported the bailouts of the financial and auto industries, the health-care bill, and the Justice Department's decision to sue Arizona over its new immigration law. Those in the mainstream public just as intensely opposed those moves."

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? I can't believe you cited that poll Christian. Did you see how Rasmussen explained how he determined the difference between "mainstream" and "political class" voters? What a joke.

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