Reminds me of Jim DeMint notoriously saying that he’d rather have 30 pure conservatives in the Senate than a centrist Republican majority, presumably so that he could lose with honor on every single vote.
The poll indicates that a slight majority, 51 percent, of Republicans would prefer to see the GOP in their area nominate candidates who agree with them on all the major the issues even if they have a poor chance of beating the Democratic candidate. Forty-three percent of Republicans say they would rather have candidates with whom they don’t agree on all the important issues but who can beat the Democrats.
Democrats polled seemed to place a slightly higher priority on electoral victory: 58 percent say that they would like their party to nominate candidates who can beat Republicans, even if they don’t agree with those candidates on all the issues. Fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats say they would rather see their party nominate candidates who agree with them on all major issues, but have a poor chance of beating the Republican candidate.
“One reason for the difference between the parties: the Democrats have a relatively even split on ideological grounds. Thirty-four percent of Democrats are liberal, 40 percent are moderates and less than one in four call themselves conservatives,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
By contrast, 73 percent of Republicans questioned in the poll say they are conservatives, with only 26 percent describing themselves as liberal or moderate Republicans.
Democrats are +20 on whether they’d rather win with centrists than lose with true believers; Republicans are -8. That’s not a huge problem when moderates are trending right after gagging on Hopenchange for the better part of a year — note that The One’s approval rating is now 45 percent among independents, down seven points in just a month — but if/when unemployment starts to recover and the trend stabilizes, it’s a major problem. A 28-point spread between the parties on this point essentially places the GOP’s fortunes in the Democrats’ hands: The only way the right wins a majority is if the left screws things up so egregiously that even staunch conservatives are apt to beat centrist Democrats head to head. It’s a passive strategy, but it’s a strategy, I guess. Exit question one: If the GOP’s so conservative these days, how is it that only 44 percent of Republicans want Palin to run for president versus 48 percent who don’t? Exit question two: Isn’t Romney’s candidacy likely to be the ultimate test of whether CNN’s poll is accurate or not? He’s going to end up as the anti-Palin, after all.