Green Room

2010: Will Dems be saved by those awful, awful, AWFUL Republicans?

posted at 12:00 am on October 21, 2009 by

The tide of bad polling data for Pres. Obama continues to roll in, with people disapproving of his handling of every major issue. Allahpundit, ever the skeptic, wonders if some of the data is simply too grim to be true.

The establishment media and the Leftosphere certainly thinks so. The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza emphasizes that the newest WaPo/ABC News poll suggests “the GOP still faces serious perception problems in the eyes of the American public”:

And, perhaps most troubling for GOP hopes is the fact that just 20 percent of the Post sample identified themselves as Republicans, the lowest that number has been in Post polling since 1983. (No, that is not a typo.)

These numbers, coming roughly one year before the 2010 midterm elections, show that any celebration on the GOP’s behalf is premature as the party has yet to convince most voters that it can be a viable alternative to Democratic control in Washington today.

Ed Morrissey explains why he thinks the new WaPo poll is a bit fishy. He is right that Democrats winning the generic Congressional ballot by twelve points (51%/39%) is way out of line with other polls.’s poll of polls currently has Dems +2.9%. However, Ed also complains about the WaPo/ABC News sample (33% Dems, 20% GOP) — which is close to the average for adults, though the average for registered and likely voters shows a much smaller gap, with the GOP gradually gaining on the Dems. (Larry Sabato thinks the Party ID totals in WaPo/ABC poll are very misleading, though that’s because he knows that voting behavior is more important.)

Regardless of the merits of the WaPo poll, Cillizza’s indictment of the GOP it is what the Leftosphere wanted to hear, and they lapped it up. Indeed, it is the continuation of a hypothesis developed in the Leftosphere — perhaps most articulately by Brendan Nyhan — that the GOP brand is so damaged that the 2010 Congressional campaign will not end as badly for the Dems as the 1994 campaign. The current net negatives of the GOP should be cause for concern, though the lefty fans of this theory tend to gloss over that the trend is increasingly negative for the Dems, too. Moreover, as Nyhan himself admits, the generic Congressional ballot should (in principle) take much of this difference into account.

Furthermore, when Nyhan first floated his theory, Charlie Cook pointed out how this ignored the actual political terrain on which the 2010 campaign will be waged, and Nyhan’s response is weak. Similarly, Cillizza’s assessment of the GOP’s poll numbers does not match up so well with his current analyses of Senate and House campaigns.

There is not much disagreement across the political spectrum that the GOP needs to get its act together, and that most the polling data now reflects disapproval of Pres. Obama and the Democrat-led Congress, as opposed to approval of the GOP. However, the notion that all of the data showing the GOP gaining near-parity with the Dems on the generic ballot (not to mention the recent WSJ/NBC poll showing re-elect numbers for Congress as bad as in 1994) should be discounted due to the GOP’s poor poll numbers on issues is wishful thinking. The hypothesis does not account for the scenario in which people disapprove of both parties and thus vote GOP to create gridlock. Moreover, the hypothesis it is not borne out in the current polling for actual 2010 campaigns.

Update: Kellyanne Conway has a deeper look at the WaPo/ABC News poll. It turns out there is a problem with the sample that emerges when you look at the composition of Republican and Democrat “leaners.” However, that does not affect the generally poor numbers for the GOP across a range of polls, or the main points of this post.

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Excellent wrap-up. Thanks.

BlameAmericaLast on October 21, 2009 at 5:04 AM

McCain, Snowe and Graham sell out America at every opportunity.

old trooper2 on October 21, 2009 at 7:46 AM

hoffman tells the tale

unseen on October 21, 2009 at 8:10 AM

i think those looking at 2010 are off. we have elections in 2 weeks which will imo give washington a wake up call and sink healthcare

unseen on October 21, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Many of us do not buy into the whole polling b.s. because you can come up with so many variations based on how a question is asked. If you really want to gauge what people are feeling, simply look at the town hall meetings and look at the tea party march on 9/12. You can’t pay Americans enough to get them to meet their local representative at another county much less get them to travel thousands of miles to show their anger. Then on top of that, the liberals play it off as nutwing or kookery. Americans have promised that 2010 will be very painful for those who chose to ignore them in Washington.

lonestr on October 21, 2009 at 11:59 AM

The best method to determine the direction of where people are passions are, is where they spend the time and money. Not so much how much, you have to look at the number of donors, not the amount given.
And you have to quantify it within the voting district the candidate is running in. CA is actually a libertarian conservative state, but because of how the districts are drawn, it governs liberally.

Conservative Voice on October 21, 2009 at 1:00 PM

I had the RNC on the phone this morning. I told them I will support the conservative candidates of my choice and I didn’t trust the RNC’s judgement.

He said if I was referring to the “2 women senators from the NE, they weren’t up for reelection in 2010” (So, that’s their speal now.)

So I asked if the RNC was supporting Crist. He said “yes, because he is an incombent.” I said, “see, the RNC is supporting the wrong candidate. I’ve already sent $400 to Rubio.”

I thanked him and hung up.

They must be getting hundreds of responses similar to mine.

stenwin77 on October 21, 2009 at 1:03 PM

So I asked if the RNC was supporting Crist. He said “yes, because he is an incombent.”

stenwin77 on October 21, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Crist isn’t the incumbant.

MarkTheGreat on October 21, 2009 at 1:10 PM

If the poll had asked me I would have denied being a Republican also. Until the Republicans come back to its Conservative roots lots of people will be looking for other places to be, including myself. Conservative Party anyone?

SGinNC on October 21, 2009 at 1:12 PM

I honestly do not hope a Republican retaking of the house. I do not want the GOP held culpable for what is about to happen to the economy and the dollar. Let Obama pass budgets with trillion dollar defecits with nary a Republican vote.

I prefer America to see Democrats get everything they want and left without a leg to stand on or a Republican to blame. When it all blows up the country will know this what Democrat leadership looks like. Jimmy Carter’s second term indeed.

Theworldisnotenough on October 21, 2009 at 1:18 PM

I disagree, I hope that Conservatives retake the house and the senate to stop this socialism. What I don’t want to see is liberal republicans voted in and then giving “bipartisan” support to these socialistic programs.

SGinNC on October 21, 2009 at 1:26 PM

We can Emphasize that the distinction between a Repub and conservative is by the voting record and public speaking. The conservatives has been a minority and lacking in speaking out against excess of spending of tax payers dollar’s.

hawkman on October 21, 2009 at 1:29 PM

“hoffman tells the tale”

I hope so. When they realize a conservative in Texas is compelled to send a check to an independent in New York and thus going around the NRCC, maybe the light will go on. That survey we all got a couple of weeks ago had already been returned with plenty of commentary and no money. Hoffman and Rubio figured prominently in the discussion…

DanMan on October 21, 2009 at 1:31 PM

What are the steps that a party needs to go through before it’s in true fighting condition?

1. Defeat
2. Depression
3. Anger
4. Blame
5. Infighting
6. Power consolidation
7. Focus
8. Fight

I’m no psycho-analyst but I’ve been on losing teams before and I think I have the major bits above. I think right now we’re in the “POWER CONSOLIDATION” phase. The infighting is over – the side that has won is the side that can put people into the streets and money into campaigns. The Liberty Movement has won the fight against the Ayatollahs and now we are merely “consolidating” power within the GOP.

However – I’m not sure we can “consolidate” all the power before next year’s elections. I don’t think the current GOP leaders of the NRSC and NRCC can be booted until after next year’s election – can they? The other thing we need to do is get rid of “Mr. Whatup?” – when does RNC Chaimanship come up for a change? I’m all for making Liz Cheney the next RNC chairman. I’m consitently impressed with this woman’s ability to inspire people (translates into $$) and her ability to pack a sentence with facts (she’s a soundbite machine).

The “Focus” for the GOP won’t come until after the Nov 2010 elections. Once it’s demonstrated that the Conservatives are the one who won the majority of the seats – it’s game over for the Ayatollahs. They’ll be voted out of their leadership positions.

We’re going to go into the 2010 elections not fully focused. Our advantage will be the fact that we’ll have more enthusiasum and will benefit from a “Anyone but a Democrat” attitude in the public.

It’s the Dem’s own fault for declaring war on Americans.

HondaV65 on October 21, 2009 at 1:44 PM

The whole NY 23 business makes me think the GOP grandees don’t get it. They’ve been handed a wonderful environment for 2010 and if they can’t get out of their ossified thinking, they’re gonna blow it.

Iblis on October 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Let the left lap up their own spinning lies. As one of millions and millions of life long Democrat that voted Republican in the last election and will do so in the coming election-the left wil lbe that much more stunned when they have their 1$$ handed to them, despite their anticipated attempts for voter fraud. There are too many living pissed off voters of all parties and not enough dead ones/cartoon characters for Democrats to win

Niteowl45 on October 21, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I have a problem right now with who Newt Gingrich is supporting in New York’s 23 district…so it ain’t all rosy if the Republicans don’t get the point. I am looking for fiscal conservatives I am an Independent, don’t make look else where for fiscal conservatives – NEWT. I am not married to the Republican Brand.

Dr Evil on October 21, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Supporting this candidate in this political climate is stupid.

This woman got the Margaret Sanger Award. That’s enough for me right there to give her the thumbs down.

Dr Evil on October 21, 2009 at 3:09 PM

The powers that be have gone farther and farther to the left as they have lost more and more seats.

What’s that about doing the same action over and over while expecting different results?

jukin on October 21, 2009 at 3:17 PM

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