Gallup: Antagonistic voting hits historical high

posted at 11:36 am on September 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Let’s start with the good news from the latest Gallup/USA Today poll.  The survey found that among those planning to vote for Republicans this year, 44% planned to do so because of the Democratic Party.  That is a higher percentage than Gallup has found in midterm elections, including the 56-seat win for Republicans in 1994 and the Democratic takeover in 2006 (in reverse):

The 44% of Republican voters who say they are voting more against the Democratic candidate exceeds the level of negative voting against the incumbent party that Gallup measured in the 1994 and 2006 elections, when party control shifted (from the Democrats to the Republicans after the 1994 elections and from the Republicans to the Democrats after the 2006 elections).

In the fall of 1994, just prior to that year’s elections, 34% of Republican voters said they were voting against the Democratic candidate rather than for the Republican candidate. There was a slightly higher proportion of negative voting in 2006, when 38% of Democratic voters said they were casting a ballot against the Republican candidate. …

On a comparative basis, there is much less negative voting among Democratic voters this year than among Republican voters. Sixty-one percent of Democratic voters say they are voting to support their preferred party, while 32% are voting Democratic to reject the Republican Party.

These attitudes among Democrats are typical of what Gallup has found in past elections; the trailing/incumbent party’s supporters have been much less likely to engage in negative voting than the leading/opposition party’s supporters.

That probably means that Democrats can’t reverse the tide by running against George W. Bush and demonizing Republicans.  They have to find a positive message about their own performance that will cool voter anger and give them a shot at limiting their losses.  Unfortunately, their tone-deaf focus on forcing an unpopular overhaul of the health-care system while ignoring the fact that their stimulus didn’t work has doomed that effort in this election cycle.  Democrats can’t hold up ObamaCare as a success when 60% of the voters want it repealed, and they don’t have anything else but the failed stimulus and the Lily Ledbetter Act to discuss.

Now for the bad news, which is only mildly worrisome.  In 1994, 59% of GOP voters cast their votes in explicit favor of the party, mainly due to the highly successful nationalization of the midterm through the Contract with America.  In 2006, 52% of Democratic voters supported the party rather than voted against the Republicans.  So far in 2010, the explicit support for the GOP only comes to 48%, not a bad number but clearly not in the 1994 range.  Perhaps that kind of positive support isn’t necessary in a cycle where the radical Democratic agenda gets so roundly rejected, but people need a reason to vote for candidates as well as the motivation to get rid of failing incumbents.  That’s especially true when it comes to attracting independent voters to one’s banner.

That could be one reason why enthusiasm among independents has dropped to the same levels as Democrats in yesterday’s Gallup report.  The GOP could be leaving some votes on the table.  They need to make a positive national case for independent support based on a commitment to fiscal discipline and a reversal of the trend of growth in the federal government.  That will get independents motivated to come to the polls to support Republicans rather than just to oppose Democrats.


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Who cares?

percysunshine on September 3, 2010 at 11:37 AM

I do… Good story…

Mmm mmm mmm…

Khun Joe on September 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM

That was a joke…

percysunshine on September 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

So far in 2010, the explicit support for the GOP only comes to 48%, not a bad number but clearly not in the 1994 range.

I am actually glad to see this. The Lemming mentality of “Vote for it because it has an R next to its name” is how the Republicans lost their way. These candidates had better earn our trust and keep their word. Or else they are going to get unemployed in the next election cycle.

portlandon on September 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

That probably means that Democrats can’t reverse the tide by running against George W. Bush and demonizing Republicans.

but they will certainly give it the old college try and continue into 2012 for dear leader…

cmsinaz on September 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I always vote, but do admit to feeling some antagonism this year. :)

Bob's Kid on September 3, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Well, this changes the narrative of “voting against the incumbent”…most are voting against BHO.

d1carter on September 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM

So far in 2010, the explicit support for the GOP only comes to 48%, not a bad number but clearly not in the 1994 range. Perhaps that kind of positive support isn’t necessary in a cycle where the radical Democratic agenda gets so roundly rejected, but people need a reason to vote for candidates as well as the motivation to get rid of failing incumbents.

They don’t need to re-tread a contract with America, but starting after the recess, they need to publicize a few key goals which they will accomplish in short order if elected. I suggest:

1. Make permanent the Bush tax cuts.

2. Create and submit a federal budget that makes real (not rate of growth) cuts to spending, including shutting down whole agencies.

3. Promise to vote on repeal of socialized medicine.

Vashta.Nerada on September 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

That probably means that Democrats can’t reverse the tide by running against George W. Bush and demonizing Republicans.

Been there, done that… they are now running against a ghost.

upinak on September 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Would it be possible for me to just vote against people and not for people?

Bikerchick on September 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

It is an anti-incumbent year, not one for GOP confirmation. Any support is volatile and tentative. The tone will be set by Boehner and, perhaps, McConnell. If their primary objectives don’t mesh with the national mood, like undoing the damage, advantage is lost. I look at their attitudes on earmarking as a litmus test.

a capella on September 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I’m looking forward to stabbing these people right in the ballot.

SurferDoc on September 3, 2010 at 11:48 AM

If the indies stay home there won’t be 40+ seats going to the GOP. In 94 Newt & co. had the right idea with a coherent plan of action. The GOP this year resembles a herd of cats. In a mid term that would make for some turnover. In this mid term it will cause a big turnoever, but if there is no coherence to the message than IMO there wont be enough to turn over the House.

xkaydet65 on September 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

portlandon on September 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Oh… until the R changes parties? Then what? I am telling you, AK is going to be one of those “nationally watched” elections again.

upinak on September 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

This is why the Left is anti-human.

faraway on September 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

The Lemming mentality of “Vote for it because it has an R next to its name” is how the Republicans lost their way.

portlandon on September 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Unfortunately some people in Delaware haven’t learned that lesson yet.

UltimateBob on September 3, 2010 at 11:51 AM

As an independent (libertarian) I’m happy with my Republican congressman (Kevin Brady), but I’m on the warpath against our all-Democrat county administration who raised property taxes last year, and our Democrat state representative. Pointing out that they’re Democrats, just like Obama and Pelosi, seems to do the trick.

If the GOP screws up with their majority, I look for the Tea Party and others to form a 3rd party down the road.

cartooner on September 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM

the boomstick cometh.

ted c on September 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

What is that hideous building in the picture of this post?

The machine-like architecture reveals exactly what is wrong with post-modernism. It’s a disembodied structure, and I can’t imagine a human being would or could enter it and leave with dignity.

Liberals are anti-humanists, absolutely. What a crappy landscape they have left us.

jeff_from_mpls on September 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

The survey found that among those planning to vote for Republicans this year, 44% planned to do so because of the Democratic Party.

Being lied to tends to make people cranky.

Deceit may get you through the front door, but it’s no guarantee that you won’t be leaving via the front window . . . head first.

CPT. Charles on September 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM

They have to find a positive message about their own performance that will cool voter anger and give them a shot at limiting their losses.

Not only a Herculean task, but virtually impossible. What positive message can they possibly present after almost two years of doing everything they can to cripple America?

Oh … and coddling and bowing to our enemies.

Vote Democrat! We bow lower than the other guys!

darwin on September 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM

This is must watching, if you haven’t seen this interview with Dr. Sowell its very good and very telling, watch to the end!

Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions

Speakup on September 3, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Looking forward to hearing the lamentations of the women.

greggriffith on September 3, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Being lied to tends to make people cranky.

CPT. Charles on September 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM

And “Death Panels” really make people cranjky.

darwin on September 3, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I don’t feel any antagonism, I pretty much hate most of the politicians. What I’m hoping for is a wave of incumbent losses and then reminding the survivors that they are next in 2012 if they don’t get their collective shiite together.

Bishop on September 3, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Would it be possible for me to just vote against people and not for people?

Bikerchick on September 3, 2010 at 11:47 AM

I would love for a system that would allow for votes against a candidate wherein each negative vote would be taken off that candidates total.

The voter would still be allowed only one vote, but instead of, say, adding to John McCain’s total, my vote could have subtracted from Barack Obama’s total. The net effect would have been the same, but the motivation would have been more clear and less deniable.

The “winner” could theoretically end up just being the candidate with the least negative total, and he’d have no realistic way of claiming a mandate because it would be clear to all that the voters considered him the lesser of the evils.

Kensington on September 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

What is that hideous building in the picture of this post?

jeff_from_mpls on September 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

According to the jpeg tag, it is Pelosis office.

Not much surprise there.

percysunshine on September 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Independent voters are simply adopting a page found in John Kerry’s playbook.

My collie says:

Independent voters were FOR the Demonrats before they were AGAINST the Demonrats.

And that should make the Demonrats happy. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

CyberCipher on September 3, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Look at Florida for an indication of how voters will vote.
Republicans, out in droves, and the dems stayed home.
The dems are defeated, whipped dogs, and embarrassed by what they have created, they want out, and the easiest way is not to vote.
Republicans want change, and are demanding it…
If any poll shows the dems even or slightly ahead…the Republican will win by 5 points…we are showing up at the polls, the dems won’t.

right2bright on September 3, 2010 at 12:12 PM

In this mid term it will cause a big turnoever, but if there is no coherence to the message than IMO there wont be enough to turn over the House.

xkaydet65 on September 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I’ll cover that bet…

Khun Joe on September 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

darwin on September 3, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Too true.

And being treated like serfs instead of citizens makes them really, really cranky.

CPT. Charles on September 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

I’m looking forward to stabbing these people right in the ballot.

SurferDoc on September 3, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Barnestormer on September 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM

CyberCipher on September 3, 2010 at 12:09 PM

I have to agree with Collie Cyber. And those whom are “libertarian” usually vote for the Dem, before they vote for the Repub. Facts are stubborn things.

upinak on September 3, 2010 at 12:18 PM

I would warn against trying to create utopian election conditions. I think Ed is only saying put out some proposals on the table but I don’t know if you really want to get into a full debate about a Contract for America when the Democrats are flailing to talk about ANYTHING. Right now without a solid target they seem to saying the most outrageous stuff to fill the airtime and debate. You get even talking about baseball it will help them. Has anyone ever just shut-up in the face of a liar and let them talk? The police do it all the time and we need to let the criminals in the Democrat party either waive their right to remain silent or say anything that CAN and WILL be used in the court of public opinion. I think if they have to fill the next 60 days with explanations the Democrats could becomne quite the joke we couldn’t make them by discussing ourselves instead. The burden of proof is on them for where the country is don’t switch it to ourselves about where the country will be with a Presidential veto staring us in the face.

Conan on September 3, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Not having a set plan — and it’s getting pretty late in the day to set one up as an overall theme for Republican candidates nationwide — means that if they do take over the House and/or Senate, the GOP better spend the time period from Nov. 3 to Jan. 3 figuring out the 3-4 things they want to do right away to either try and reverse what Obama, Reid and Pelosi have done, or at least force Obama’s hand and make sure voters understand the choice they’re going to have in 2012.

That means not getting sidetracked onto issues that a smaller percentage of anti-Democratic voters care about, but that Democrats would like to make the main issues in order to split the new Republican majority. And is also doesn’t mean having the House and Senate leaders go back to Washington on Jan. 3 and think that simply not being as bad as the last Congress is good enough, and they can survive in 2012 just though not passing any more big government legislation and cutting the pork spending down a little bit, as opposed to actually trying to repeal those measures and making major cuts in other unnecessary spending.

jon1979 on September 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM

The relationship between earmarks and entrenched, long term incumbents is becoming meore obvious and distasteful to voters. the AK election was one example. The 2012 Nebraska election regarding Ben Nelson’s career is another. Nebraskans were offered a Medicaid advantage which was unfair to the rest of the country in return for his vote on Obamacare. They reacted angrily and no matter how hard Nelson tries, it will be his downfall in 2012. i would like to think a trend is beginning.

a capella on September 3, 2010 at 12:26 PM

jon1979 on September 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Senate will have the filibuster and the donks will take full advantage.

a capella on September 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Senate will have the filibuster and the donks will take full advantage.

a capella on September 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I mentioned the Presidential veto but maybe the first discussion is that a watered down version would have to pass the Senate with Democrat votes BEFORE Obama decided it wasn’t watered down enough for him. It’s going to be 2 years of gridlock (on conservative legislation) so only a fool will make promises about solid conservative legislation. What might happen is that the public will wonder why they voted Republican and nothing changed on the issues they ran on. Don’t EVER assume the swing voters ( I think of them as apolitical and not following along frankly) think deeper into reasons why what is happening in Washington is happening. Promise to block the bad stuff. That is a promise that can be kept and keeping promises is how you want to go into 2012.

Conan on September 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

The Republicans need desperately to find someone to be the poster boy of the party. I just don’t see any superstars out there yet. He must be an excellent speaker, and ooze confidence. I believe the country aches for a commander to take command and be a cheerleader for The United States and it’s traditional values.

saiga on September 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Looking forward to hearing the lamentations of the women.

greggriffith on September 3, 2010 at 11:56 AM

A “Conan the Barbarian” reference. I like it!

Conan on September 3, 2010 at 12:57 PM

The Republicans need desperately to find someone to be the poster boy of the party.

saiga on September 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

How fair would it be to “elect” someone the representative of the party right now? The fact is the President is the “poster boy” of his party at all times and the party out of party has leading voices. This is a GOOD thing in politics. Trying to subvert other views by “electing” someone who represents the party isn’t a way to currying independents or swing voters as they are not that intensly into politics. If you want to see the folly of having a “leader” in the party when you are out of the WH consider how hard the Democrats have tried to paint Palin or Limbaugh as the “leader” so they have a target for their vitriol and anti-conservative arguments. Having only one voice is not an electoral benefit.

Conan on September 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM

That could be one reason why enthusiasm among independents has dropped to the same levels as Democrats in yesterday’s Gallup report. The GOP could be leaving some votes on the table. They need to make a positive national case for independent support based on a commitment to fiscal discipline and a reversal of the trend of growth in the federal government. That will get independents motivated to come to the polls to support Republicans rather than just to oppose Democrats.

I am an Independent what appeals to me? The Tea Party, and The Restoring Honor Rally.

The Republican Brand…well right now they are doing what they always do, to get their base excited. BUT it is Independents that decide elections.

I like Chris Christie it’s disappointing to see him endorsing the “Calcified” candidate.

I watched Hannity this week. he had someone on calling the Safety Net for Vulnerable Americans “The Welfare State” no it’s not. I am just as musch against the Progressives growing the Welfare State in this country as the next person. We do have vulnerable people. Who is going to take care of them? Salvation Army? Than you have a problem with separation of Church and State…everyone they help won’t be their brand of religion or religious at all.

I was watching FBN this morning, where someone actually floated the idea if this would be a good time to repeal the increase in the minimum wage. The Minimum wage is like 6.15. Who commenting here works for 6.15 an hour? Illegals work for 8 to 10 an hour. But you know here is someone thinking this appeals to Republicans lowering the increase in minimum wage RINOS want to be seen taking advantage of Americans during a bad downturn in the economy? They think that endears them to Middle America? – nothing like preying on out of work American’s insecurities.

Illegal immigration – well let’s see the Chamber of Commerce is a big contributor to the Republicans and they are all for cheap Mexican labor – which suppresses American Citizen’s wages.

I watched Frank Luntz hawking GM – Government Motors this last week on Imus In The Morning…So Frank Luntz sells GM saying it’s patriotic to buy their products and their products have gotten so much better, you know like the Chevy Volt..LOL! So there is a piece of hypocrisy right there. If you are against the auto bailouts.

Meghan McCain uses Sarah Palin to sell her book, right after her father John McCain, had Palin stumping for him in Arizona to get the Republican nomination…so just how phony are the McCains? What brand of Republican are they selling? It looks like a real self serving to me.

I commented when the President made his oval office speech “If He Was Aiming For The Center” he hit the target.

Pat Caddell said on Hannity, that everything the Democrats were doing was wrong, and the Republicans are brain dead.

The Republicans think they are going to win in November by not being the Democrats with Candidates like Mike Castle “Status Quo” that’s who Independents and Tea Party Folks have a problem with in the first place. Sending the same kind of people back to the Swamp, isn’t going to change anything in D.C.

I have a difficult time believing even Republicans are excited about the current Republican Party.

I look on the bright side. Divided Government creates Grid Lock, and that’s what the economy needs Grid Lock in D.C. so if a bunch of RINOS get reelected at least they block the Progressives agenda.

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties. Gore Vidal.

Dr Evil on September 3, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Conan on September 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM

I don’t mean elect one, what I was thinking about is how the cream rises to the top, and a standout gets the focus of attention as the rising star. Chris Christie is the closest thing out there. You have to be different to be better, and I just don’t see any standouts yet.

saiga on September 3, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Senate will have the filibuster and the donks will take full advantage.

a capella on September 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I fully expect Obama to go through all the motions of saying he’s triangulating, and the big media to claim he’s moving to the middle, but at the same time having the president not back or sign anything near the welfare reform bill Clinton signed in 1996 to prove to moderate voters he has changed. Or he may try the “good cop, bad cop” strategy of saying he’d just love to pass a bill moderates would support, but those darn filibustering Senate Democrats won’t let him do so.

The problem with the latter option is there are 12 Democratic seats up in 2012, and after the current election cycle, it’s going to be interesting to see how many of those incumbents are going to be willing to slide themselves under the bus just for Obama to maintain his own re-election viability. Option 3, of course, his to feign moderation, have the Senate filibuster and then hope when the big media blames all the problems on House GOP leadership that the swing voters believe them, but if the Republicans actually have 3-4 definite issues they focus on that the Democrats block and the economy continues to falter, they probably won’t be able to sucker a whole lot of moderates to vote for Barack a second time around.

jon1979 on September 3, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Oh and don’t even get me started on the Democrats LOL!

Dr Evil on September 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Just 30 minutes ago I was staring at that new federal ‘green’ building near downtown San Fran. It’s much uglier than the sketch. The thought that ran through my mind was Chicken Wire. A gigantic stack of liberal chicken wire. Brought to you by committee, unemployed artists, environmentalists, and corrupt bureaucrats.

The chickens…have come home…to roost.

EZnSF on September 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM

What is that hideous building in the picture of this post?

jeff_from_mpls on September 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

According to the jpeg tag, it is Pelosis office.

Not much surprise there.

percysunshine on September 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Monthly Rent: $18,736

dont taze me bro on September 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

I strongly prefer a diverse opinion reflected in local elections for fiscally conservative individuals looking to cut back, cut off, and rollback government.

Does anyone trust the beltway Republican leadership to craft a fiscally conservative message and stick to it? I remember the 1990′s and the Republicans became as spendthrift as the Democrats. We are better off without a ‘message’ from the top and one coming from the bottom telling the top what to do.

ajacksonian on September 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

I have to agree with Collie Cyber. And those whom are “libertarian” usually vote for the Dem, before they vote for the Repub. Facts are stubborn things.

upinak on September 3, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Yes facts are stubborn things and the assertion that libertarians vote “Dem, before they vote for the Repub” is not a fact. Libertarians don’t love the GOP, but we have far more in common with conservatives than liberals or Dems.
The only Dem I’ve voted for since the ’70′s (when I was one) was for Hillary in the Texas Primaries in ’08. Just to keep the Dem race alive and spending $.

Bill Maher bills himself as a libertarian, but he’s a progressive which libertarians hate. Im sure he votes Dem, tho’.

cartooner on September 3, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Bill Maher bills himself as a libertarian, but he’s a progressive which libertarians hate. Im sure he votes Dem, tho’.

cartooner on September 3, 2010 at 2:32 PM

That’s the real message the Republicans should be getting if they are not as brain dead as Pat Caddell stated :)

There is an ANTI PROGRESSIVE WAVE they should think about riding it LOL!

Not endorsing The Progressive candidates, for office just because they are wearing the Republican brand.

Up to 500,000.00 Americans turned out on 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally. I doubt seriously there was a Progressive in that crowd….The Republicans seem to have an unnaturally steep learning curve.

Dr Evil on September 3, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Dr Evil on September 3, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Agreed; gridlock is underrated.

slickwillie2001 on September 3, 2010 at 3:26 PM

The picture with this post is the new and very expensive Federal office building in San Francisco, at 7th and Mission.

Emperor Norton on September 3, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I fully expect Obama to go through all the motions of saying he’s triangulating, and the big media to claim he’s moving to the middle

Which is why we do not want candidates like Castle. Obama would use him. Unfortunately there are others he can also use. Obama will make out like it it BiPartisan if even one RINO votes with his Democrats the press will help.

There is no message because the Republicans are deeply split. Many want to get the RINOs out. The RINO’s are clinging to their power with all their might using all their Democrat tools in their arsenal. Many are Democrat plants IMHO.

Steveangell on September 3, 2010 at 4:31 PM

What is that hideous building in the picture of this post?

The machine-like architecture reveals exactly what is wrong with post-modernism. It’s a disembodied structure, and I can’t imagine a human being would or could enter it and leave with dignity.

Liberals are anti-humanists, absolutely. What a crappy landscape they have left us.

I believe that is the Federal building in San Francisco. Ohh, the exterior design is just the beginning… Just read how wonderful this place is:

Ugly San Francisco

High performance features of the building include:
natural ventilation for all office spaces
no air conditioning on the upper 13 floors
sensor controlled natural daylighting
shading devices
individual controls for occupants
energy efficient elevators (elevators only go 3 floors each)
and a socially sustainable program.

IUnknown on September 3, 2010 at 7:16 PM