Monday, June 22, 2009

The Collapse of Republican Support

Among the kind of white progressives I hang out with, it used to be a kind of joke that one black person would be invited to every party.

Eventually, there were enough black people around so that African-Americans got above token level. You couldn't realistically have "just one." Then, it became cool to invite a token gay person. Wasn't there also a Sex and the City episode about lesbian couples being the in-thing at parties?

Now, no one can have a real party unless they invite a transsexual.

Even in Kentucky.

But I'm wondering if Republicans aren't going to become so scarce someday that they actually have value as token guests for progressive gatherings.

"Look everybody, there's the Republican we invited."

At least that's what the public opinion trend surrounding the Republican Party.

Here's the "favorable opinion levels" for Republicans as reported by Research 2000 for DailyKos.

All-- 24%

Blacks -- 3%
Latinos-- 8%
Whites-- 31%
Other -- 9%
Women --16%
Men --32%

It's not so surprising that 94% of blacks and Democrats view the Republicans unfavorably. But so do 78% of independents, 86% of Latinos, 79% of women. Even 64% of the most favorable group for Republicans--men--view the Republicans poorly. Greg Sargent argues that GOP opposition to the Sonia Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court has killed Republican support among Latinos. But the Republicans are dead everywhere. Has the Sotomayor nomination harmed the Republicans among a wide range of groups or are the various groups unhappy with Republican conduct in general?

It's the latter I think.

"Hey, honey. We need to change up our guest list a little. No more "same old, same old." You know that Republican guy from work. He's actually a nice guy. We should invite him too."


Favorable opinions of the Republicans are so rare in the Northeast that you could get a change of pace by talking to someone who would say something nice about Dick Cheney. Even the Solid South is not exactly solid for the GOP anymore. Forth-seven percent of Southerners view them unfavorably as well. Still, outside the South, Republican support is in something like a death spin.


The Republicans are pretty much at the same token level among young voters as they are among blacks and Latinos. It would be sort of interesting to investigate why people in "early middle age" are less disgusted with the GOP than other groups.

Maybe they're not paying attention.

If I were a Republican consultant looking at these numbers, I would be thinking about starting a new party. The GOP doesn't look like they're popular enough to support all the conservative pollsters and political consultants out there. As a result, my ability to live in the manner to which I've become accustomed might depend on getting away from the Republican Party.

How bad is it? A Republican candidate could expect to get 35-45% of the vote if the election were held today--35% if it's Sarah Palin, 45% for a John McCain clone. But to get even to those still losing levels, the Republicans have to attract big parts of their support from people who don't like them. Given that only 24% of voters think favorably of the Republicans, they would have to get almost a third of their vote from (11% out of 35%) from voters who have an unfavorable opinion of them to get to the landslide level of 35%. To get 45% of the vote, the Republicans would have to corral almost 1/2 (21% out of 45%) of their votes from the unfavorably minded.

That's a daunting task.

As for winning in 2012, the Republicans can almost forget about that. They really need to focus on survival. Right now, the Republicans look like the Bear Stearns of the political world--aggressive, pugnacious, unpopular, and doomed.

Hey, that's another idea for our next party--invite an unemployed investment banker.

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