Friday, December 17, 2010

Obama's real intra party challenge

The media's spent a lot of energy the last couple weeks on the specter of a challenge to Barack Obama from the left for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2012. Here's a curveball- there are actually more Democratic primary voters in Ohio and Wisconsin who would like a more conservative nominee than Obama in 2012 than there are ones who would like someone more liberal.

Mind you there aren't many Democrats who want Obama deposed anyway- 70% in Wisconsin and 67% in Ohio would like him to be the nominee for a second term. But most of those who would like a different face want one to Obama's right- in Ohio 15% would like a more conservative nominee to only 7% who want someone more liberal and in Wisconsin 14% would like a more conservative nominee to 9% who want someone more liberal.

Even if liberal Democrats are unhappy with Obama on the tax deal- and our polls earlier this week in these states showed they are- it's not having too big an impact on their overall reviews of him. 93% in Wisconsin approve of the job Obama's doing compared to 80% of moderate Democrats and 63% of conservative ones. Ohio liberals are more unhappy with Obama- his approval with them is 76%, lower than his 78% with moderate ones. His standing with conservative Democrats in Ohio is all the way down at 43%.

Conservative Democrats are ultimately a bigger threat to Obama's reelection prospects than liberal ones. They don't necessarily make a lot of noise about it when they're unhappy- they just go out and vote for Republicans. Liberals on the other hand really have nowhere to go- they can stay at home or vote for Ralph Nader but ultimately that's just going to get them someone who makes them a lot more unhappy than Obama. It's not a pleasant reality, but in our two party system that's just the way it goes- conservatives definitely have more leverage than liberals within the Democratic coalition and that's why they so often get their way despite their smaller numbers.

Full results here


Jonny V said...

Yup. I think you are pretty much right on target.

I'm a *VERY* liberal Democrat (well to the left of Dennis Kucinich and proud of it) but I'm also pragmatic and realistic and I realize that my views are just not in the mainstream in this pathetically ignorant country. I think Obama is doing the best he can under very difficult circumstances. I think it's just... short sighted to even think about dumping him or jumping ship. We got to fight harder for President Obama, not whine.

I'd be curious to know how many of those conservative Democrats voted for McCain in 2008?

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin and Ohio? I'd be willing to concede you have a point if you weren't talking about two of the most conservative states. Why not come out and make your point about Oregon and California? Because then your narrative wouldn't hold water, that's why.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Wisconsin and Ohio? I'd be willing to concede you have a point if you weren't talking about two of the most conservative states"

Two of the most conservative states? Ohio's purple and Wisconsin's fairly blue. You think that's conservative? Ever been to the Deep South or the vast plains states?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about how many of these people either don't give him their votes or vote for the Republican in large enough numbers to make a big enough difference. After all, there's always, what, 10, maybe 15 percent of Democrats or Republicans that vote for the other party based on some issue?

Very roughly speaking, in Ohio, let's say he would get 95 percent of the liberal Democratic vote, 80 percent of the moderate Democratic vote, but only 50 percent of the conservative Democratic vote. That would be 33.25 liberal votes, 40 moderate votes, and 7.5 conservative votes. That would be 80.75 Democratic votes overall, which is lower than the supposed 89 percent of Democratic votes he received in Ohio in 2008.

But let's say he received 85 percent of the moderate Democratic vote and 65 percent of the conservative vote. That would be 42.5 moderate votes and 9.75 conservative ones. That would be 85.5 Democratic votes, much closer to what he received in 2008.

My guess is, when making the tax deal, there was someone in the White House political office, maybe a few people even, saying things like this.

oddjob said...

I think in swing states, such as Ohio & Pennsylvania, conservative Democrats matter quite a lot.

Alex said...

I could believe this if the Blue Dogs didn't get wiped out in the last election and Obama's poll numbers spanked with the tax cuts. Democrats want Democrats. I'm tired of being told I'm whining just because I don't want poisoned food and water, endless war, health bankruptcies and the rich to get everything they want. This whole meme of the party needing to move to the right is just Glenn Beck's Overton Window in action.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Seems like the overwhelming majority of Democrats think Obama's liberal enough. They're not saying he needs to move to the right or the left. There are just more of those, at least in these two states, who think someone further right should be nominated than there are those who think someone further left should. The liberals in the party who want a leftist primary challenge are more vocal but not necessarily more numerous.

Christian Liberty said...

Obama is not only far to the left of the mainstream of America, he is far to the left of the mainstream of the Democrat Party.

Democrats are truly delusional if they do not reject this loser before America does in November 2012.

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