It took four years of George Bush’s second term to push Republicans to a recent nadir in registration in Minnesota. It only took six months of Barack Obama to push the GOP back into parity with the DFL, the state’s Democratic Party. Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics looks at the suddenly-stronger Republican Party and draws at least one of the correct conclusions:
The SurveyUSA poll finds 34 percent of Minnesotans now identify as Republicans – the largest percentage enjoyed by the GOP in 63 surveys conducted by the organization dating back to its inaugural tracking poll in May 2005, when 35 percent identified as Republicans.
In fact, Republicans had only reached the 30 percent mark in just 7 of the previous 42 statewide surveys conducted by the polling organization since January 2007.
Democrats have held advantages over the GOP in party ID of moderate to large margins since late 2005. The percentage of residents identifying as Democrats in Minnesota had even eclipsed the 40 percent mark nine times since the 2006 election – and as recent as April and June of 2009.
The Democratic slide – and Republican gain – in party ID may be tied to the slipping approval ratings of President Barack Obama. Obama’s approval numbers were measured at an all-time low of 51 percent in July by SurveyUSA, down eight points from June. Obama’s slippage was tracked in several states, and SurveyUSA also reports that Republicans appear to be making inroads in other battleground states, such as Virginia – where Republicans hold double digit leads in a new round of election matchups for three statewide offices, including Governor, on the ballot this fall.
Eric explains that the change has come quickly. In four earlier polls this year, Democrats had double-digit leads on party ID in Minnesota, including as late as June, when the gap was 13 points. That’s how much ground Republicans have gained — in a month.
What happened? The CBO began scoring ObamaCare, and the House shoved cap-and-tax down the throats of Republicans. Even after Porkulus, people clung to the belief that Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid represented a moderate middle rather than a radical Left, and that their leadership would focus on prosperity rather than socialism. After June and July, those pretenses disappeared, even in Minnesota.
This shows that Republicans can beat Democrats by focusing on their overreach, and by having common-sense alternatives that support prosperity rather than destroying it. Even in Minnesota, people can learn those lessons, which says something for a state that just sent Al Franken to the Senate. If we see this trend in Minnesota, you can bet it’s happening in plenty of other states, too.