More Republicans than not are also dissatisfied with the party’s efforts on abortion, although disapproval in that case doesn’t quite reach majority levels.
If you think this sort of restlessness is standard for political coalitions, compare the numbers on the same issues among Democrats. The party that elected Obama is a sprawling behemoth of diverse coalitions — labor, greens, pro-choicers, amnesty shills, the poor, the very well educated, etc — but congressional Dems have at least plurality support from their base on all four major issues.
Imagine what the midterm polls would look like if Republican voters actually liked their leadership.
The good news about this poll: Pew delved deeper among the people who thought Republicans weren’t doing a good job and asked them if they thought the party was taking a position that was too conservative or not conservative enough. The bad news: They didn’t do the same thing for people who did think the party was doing a good job so it’s impossible to tell why satisfied Republican voters are satisfied. For instance, if a low-information voter says the GOP’s done a good job on immigration, is the good part the fact that they’ve resisted making a deal with Obama on legalization so far? Or is the good part the fact that every major Republican in the country, including/especially John Boehner, is constantly babbling about how important it is to keep working on a deal for immigration reform? Kind of important to know that for positioning reasons. Oh well.
Note the numbers among younger Republicans, though:
The 18-34 crowd is the only one that’s more satisfied than not with what the party’s doing on immigration — and they’re also the only age group where more people think the party’s not willing enough to legalize illegals than that it’s too willing. Based on that, I assume those who say the GOP’s doing a “good job” on the issue are saying so because they think (correctly) that the party’s trying to make a deal, not because they think it’s holding the line on border security. If those numbers hold then the Republican Party’s bound to become more pro-amnesty as younger voters replace older ones in the electorate. Then again, the party’s bound to become more pro-amnesty anyway to appeal to America’s growing Latino demographic. When polled here, 52 percent of Latino Democrats said the Democratic leadership isn’t doing a good job on immigration; when asked why, 40 percent of them said Dems aren’t willing enough to legalize illegals versus just eight percent who said Dems are too willing. See now why O’s hellbent on issuing that executive order on amnesty this year?
Immigration’s not the only issue where Republican-leaning kids tilt further left than older voters either:
I’m … not sure why seniors think the party isn’t doing a “good job” on gay marriage given that, apart from Rob Portman and a handful of others, pretty much everyone in Congress still formally opposes it. Is it the fact that GOP’s begun shifting to a federalist let-the-states-decide approach rather than pounding the table for a hopeless Federal Marriage Amendment? Or is the discontent due to the GOP’s reluctance to pound the table about this issue at all anymore? Either way, you can see starkly from the numbers here how hard it is for Republican pols to satisfy the components of their coalition. Conservatives and moderates are both dissatisfied — but for different reasons. Among different age demographics, you’ve got a tug of war between the 49-and-under critics, who think the GOP should be more moderate, and the 65+ critics, who think the GOP should stand firm. (The in-between 50-64 crowd is split right down the middle.) Again, this is an issue that will probably end up tilting towards the centrists as younger voters compose more of the Republican base. But we’re likely years away from a decisive shift.
I’ll leave you with this from Gallup, which doesn’t touch directly on divisions among Republicans but does so obliquely vis-a-vis the split between hawks and doves. Exit question: How much of a split can there really be with numbers like this?