Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 19, 2009

LOSING GROUND.... There have been plenty of recent polls showing the number of Americans willing to identify themselves as Republican dropping to lows unseen in decades. But late yesterday, Gallup released a more detailed look at this decline, noting that the GOP has lost ground with practically every demographic in the country.

The decline in Republican Party affiliation among Americans in recent years is well documented, but a Gallup analysis now shows that this movement away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup. Since the first year of George W. Bush's presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline.

The results, taken from months of surveys totaling 7,000 adult respondents, are striking. The Republican Party has lost ground in every region, every age group, every ethnicity, every income level, every educational level, every ideology, and both genders. The drop off was strongest among college graduates (down 10%), Americans under 30 (down 9%), Americans making under $75,000, Midwesterners, and self-identified moderates.

Among frequent churchgoers, the GOP broke even, maintaining the same level of support from 2001. The drop off among African Americans and Latinos was modest, but only because Republicans fared poorly with these voters before and limited room to drop further.

Which groups showed GOP gains? There weren't any.

The news for Democrats was far more encouraging. In 2001, respondents were asked for their party affiliation, and independents were encouraged to pick one of the two major parties. Democrats had the narrowest of leads over the GOP, 45% to 44%. This year, Dems are up to 53%, while Republicans have slipped to 39%.

The Republican base -- which is to say, the only voters who are leaving the party slower after the last eight years -- includes frequent churchgoers, self-identified conservatives, and voters 65 and older.

If this doesn't scare GOP leaders, they're just not paying attention.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (28)

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Comments

That would make James Dobson your typical Republican voter.

Sounds about right.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on May 19, 2009 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, they are paying attention, they just don't know what to do, having painted themselves into an anti-government corner. So they repeat their tired mantra of lower taxes and hope for economic collapse before the mid-terms - definitely a compelling position in the battle for hearts and minds.
With luck,the wingnuts will stay in charge to preside over a third straight electoral drubbing.

Posted by: richard.greenslade on May 19, 2009 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

If this is so, how come the (minority) Republicans still control Congress? And how come Obama finds it necessary to continue moving right as the country is rapidly moving left?

And, mostly, how come I'm not comforted by the news from Gallup?

Posted by: K in VA on May 19, 2009 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

And how come Obama finds it necessary to continue moving right as the country is rapidly moving left?

Because Vice-President-For-Life Cheney has deemed it so.

Posted by: henry lewis on May 19, 2009 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is in a state of denial about their future.

It's the first of Kubler-Ross' five stages...

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 19, 2009 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

If this doesn't scare GOP leaders, they're just not paying attention.

Republicans have a long history of refusing to pay attention. In fact, it's their fucking platform.

Posted by: chrenson on May 19, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

They ARE paying attention and have decided that they are not Republican ENOUGH.

Having watched the last decade of politics, this sounds like a typical decision that a Republican might make.

Posted by: Mark-NC on May 19, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

you'd think a party whose best support is age 65 and older might reconsider whether to improve the health care system. . .

Posted by: zeitgeist on May 19, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

To Zeitgeist: "Oh snap!"

Posted by: chrenson on May 19, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

If this doesn't scare GOP leaders, they're just not paying attention.

Methinks you have it backwards. The GOP leaders are always out to scare us. They don't care what these numbers say. If they gave them a modicum of interest we'd be seeing some movement towards support of Obama's agenda. They know they have an eroded base, that moderates are leaving in flocks, and that the younger voter sees the morass left by their failed policies have placed them into jobless, health care benefitless, ethical and moraless fearmongering quandry that doesn't work for the GOP anymore.

That said, fear, being a motivator, is their only engine. They can still keep 25% or so in fear and loathing so they do it. They come from scared districts that are not very intellectually curious and basically hate "liberals". Ahem. Good luck with that. What fun...

Posted by: stevio on May 19, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I guess this is something we can all be thankful to George Bu$h for.

Posted by: citizen_pain on May 19, 2009 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is in a state of denial about their future.

It's the first of Kubler-Ross' five stages...

When they get to the anger stage, how will we know?

Posted by: scott_m on May 19, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

you'd think a party whose best support is age 65 and older might reconsider whether to improve the health care system. . .

Perhaps they're thinking "I've got mine" with Medicare. Socialized medicine for me but not for thee...

Posted by: shortstop on May 19, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

I would be very cautious about this news. The concentration of wealth in this contry is controlled by people over 65 years old. The fight for the will of the people to overcome shear wealth is going to brutal.

Posted by: Gandalf on May 19, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

This poll explains why, in order to get back into power, the GOP needs to do... EXACTLY THE SAME THING THAT THEY'VE BEEN DOING. Only more so.

You go right ahead and do that. I'll be sitting quietly, giggling to myself.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 19, 2009 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Umm, anyone notice that the story right after "Losing Ground" was titled "Picking Up The Trash"?

For what it's worth (but it made *me* laugh...).

Posted by: Bruce B on May 19, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Awesome comments. How did everyone get so witty so early in the morning?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 19, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

How did everyone get so witty so early in the morning?

Liberals are far funnier than conservatives. Slow-witted conservatives don't realize this and keep trying, which means that the laughs they inspire are at their own expense. It's what's known as a delicious circle.

Posted by: shortstop on May 19, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

How did everyone get so witty so early in the morning?

Just wait until the afternoon shift comes in.

Posted by: SRW1 on May 19, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

What's even more interesting is that this poll comes on the heels of one that shows pro-life supporters outnumbering pro-choice supporters for the first time ever. The theory of a "permanent Republican majority" was in part based on the pro-life movement's success. If you had told Republicans in 1996 or 2000 that 51% of Americans would identified as pro-life in 2009, they'd automatically assume the culture war was won and they'd be forever in power.

Posted by: tempered optimism on May 19, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

The poll showing a pro-life majority has been shown to be a statistical outlier--it had Democrats and Republicans self-identifying in equal numbers. (The number of Democrats was so low as to be outside the 95% confidence interval.) So don't draw too much from that particular poll.

Posted by: lone1c on May 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

WOW, the demographics for the RepuGs is falling, daily - WOW - Why this means our MaHvelous so-called Democratic Senators can vote against the canard "Death" tax tinkering, can vote for bankruptcy protection for all home owners, can support Single Payer, can cap credit card interest rates ala the plan by Senator Bernie Sanders, can demand all of the torture photos be displayed, can demand that there will not be military tribunals. Ever sooooo much can be accomplished now, that the Hope and Spare Change group is no longer, simply so-called Special Interest Groups, but, Demos with a Huge D marching onward. Oops, what? They just voted against Bernie, you say? Must be a typo. Why the Hope and Spare Change crowd is in total control, not?

Posted by: berttheclock on May 19, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Lessee, how will Fox and the Weakly Standard interpret this survey? hmmmm... yup...
This is great news—for Republicans!

Posted by: bluestatedon on May 19, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I see another Saturday Night Live skit... "Honey, I Shrunk the Party!" starring ....???

Posted by: ML on May 19, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

what it boils down to is the GOP's membership is made up of faux noise viewers.

bwahahahahaha

Posted by: karen marie on May 19, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

As much as I dislike the Republican party, I can't say that I find the Democrats all that appealing, either. Without a viable third party, it always seems to be a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: qwerty on May 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Without a viable third party, it always seems to be a choice between the lesser of two evils.

With a viable third party, it's just a choice between the lesser of three evils. Progress? Not really.

Posted by: apostropher on May 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

After Bush we need scientific analysis for Republican decline? The amazing thing to me is that Bush left with such high approval ratings. 1 in 5 never got the message that we went to war, wasted trillions, and killed God-knows-how-many over imaginary WMD.

Posted by: Luther on May 19, 2009 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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