Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Moderate Purge

One of the findings on our national poll this week has a lot of relevance to what's going on in the political world today: only 41% of moderates think there's a place in the Republican Party for them. You have to wonder this afternoon if Mike Castle includes himself in that 41%.

If I was a Republican Senator up for reelection in 2012 right now who was anywhere to the left of Tom Coburn I'd be getting very nervous about my renomination chances. Last week we looked at a couple folks in the GOP caucus who are up next time and found that both of them could be in a great deal of trouble. It's not much surprise that Maine Republicans want to purge out the clearly centrist Olympia Snowe by a 63-29 margin. But it was a little startling to see that the GOP base in Texas wanted to replace the pretty reliably conservative Kay Bailey Hutchison with someone even further to the right by a 62-25 spread.

And one thing that was made clear by Christine O'Donnell's victory is that in this political climate you don't even have to be a particularly good candidate to catch fire and bump out someone who's perceived as being too liberal.

Against that overall backdrop it should be no surprise at all that only 21% of moderates identified themselves as Republicans on our most recent national poll to 46% who are Democrats and 32% who are independents.

Suffice it to say we'll be testing a challenge to the right on every 2012 Republican Senator whose state we poll from here on out to help us answer the question of whether any of them are really safe.

Full results here


wgbjr said...

I would consider myself one of the Independents. The Right is exporting too much hate right now for my taste. I came from a conservative background, but the party's lack of tolerance and fear tactics have turned me away. Likewise, there are policies on the Left I don't agree with either. So I (like many I know), are stuck in the middle.

DBL said...

This poll is disingenuous since it was done with "voters," even though you guys have switched to "likely voters" with all your other polls. While some of your questions are better asked of all voters you have said that just going with voters now doesn't make sense.

You asked a group that consists of only 36% Republicans whether moderates fit into the GOP. As we know an overwhelming number of people who consider themselves moderates are Democrats. What do you Democrats and independents who don't think they fit in the GOP are going to say?

Fortunately, you provide a the Republican breakdown to that question and it's 58%-19% in favor, a 3 to 1 ratio. Your previous polls have shown that conservatives generally outnumber moderates in the GOP a little less than 2 to 1. So while some moderates and conservatives in the GOP think moderates don't belong it's probably less than a third of either.

Sadly, your numbers will be disseminated by the media without looking at them closely. You work hard to push the idea that while you're a Democratic pollster you don't show bias. While you may play your polls straight, if you don't play the results straight you're showing bias.

Chuck T said...

Long term that is very bad news for the GOP especially if they end up nominating some right wing nut to go up against Obama in 2012. They will probably find in an expanded electorate, as 2012 will have, that many of the gains that they make this year will vanish.

AG said...

Here's what I don't understand:

You claim fewer and fewer moderates identify with the Republicans, but in poll after poll you show Independents siding with the Republicans by substantial margins.

How do you account for this discrepancy? Are hard-right conservatives identifying as independent of the Republicans or something?

Kevin said...

46% of moderates call themselves democrats? I know some of these people and they are the most hateful and vile dailykos types out there. They view anyone to the right of nancy pelosi as an extremist

Dustin Ingalls said...

"This poll is disingenuous since it was done with "voters," even though you guys have switched to "likely voters" with all your other polls."

Why would we do a likely voter model for a national poll when we're not testing any horse races for this fall's election?

DBL said...

You're doing a generic ballot. That's the aggregate horse race that gives a snapshot of how the country will vote. There's no reason to include people who won't vote.

CBS/NY Times, NBC/WSJ, and ABC/Wash Post have all come out with generic ballots in the last few days that were likely voters. The three average to an R +8. Your registered voters ballot is D +1.

I have no problem with asking every other question on there to registered voters, but you give a false impression by including this one.

Anonymous said...

Chuck T,
Stick around ol' buddy - cause come 2012 it really isn't going to much matter whose running against Obama - Mr. O is gone! DONE DEAL!

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I have no problem with asking every other question on there to registered voters, but you give a false impression by including this one."

The way our methodology works, if we ask one question to likely voters, we have to ask all of them to likely voters. Same for registered voters.

Christian Liberty said...

Republican candidates will be more popular when the public can actually tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Moving the party to the right will only make Republicans more popular. Notice that as the party when the party actually stands for principles, independents come pouring in to support Republican candidates. Independents prefer Republicans over Democrats by margins that are at least 16-year highs. Replacing moderates with conservatives has made Republicans more popular. There is zero reason to stop now. All evidence shows that Republicans are more popular than ever because they have actually stood for conservative principles.

NRH said...

Once again, Herbie is off his meds. In virtually every race this year where a teabagger defeated an establishment incumbent, the teabagger performs between ten and thirty points worse than the establishment candidate. Joe Miller has a single-digit lead where Murkowski led by thirty. Rand Paul is in single digits where Grayson led by twenty. Marco Rubio is ahead by single digits when Crist as nominee had a forty point lead. Sharron Angle let Harry Reid recover from being down twenty. And on and on and on.

Provide some factual basis or quit claiming the feces you've smeared on yourself is perfume, Herbie.

Anonymous said...

How come "moderate" always gets moved left? Call Castle what he is - a liberal. You don't get to be a moderate when you are for the huge government cap-and-trade scheme.

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