Political Animal


January 31, 2013 4:43 PM Too Much Love For “The Base?”

By Ed Kilgore

A new PPP survey of Texas has a couple of interesting findings, with the big question being whether they are inter-related.

(1) Hillary Clinton currently leads the three named Republicans (Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and by eight points, Texas Gov. Rick Perry) in a 2016 presidential test heat.

(2) 35% of Texas Republicans favor secession from the United States of America, while less than half (46%) are opposed.

The CW on partisan polarization, which has a lot of evidence to support it, is that partisan lines are so hard at the moment that no nominee of either party could fall below 45% in a presidential election nationally, which also means no nominee could fail to win states solidly favoring his or her party (like Texas favors Republicans). But are there limits? Can The Crazy actually begin to affect Republican support levels even in Texas?

I wouldn’t read too much into this one poll. Rubio and Christie have lower name ID than Hillary, and Perry is going through one of his periodic bouts of unpopularity back home.

Still, if I were a Republican I’d be genuinely worried, and might even look for a party makeover a lot deeper than the cosmetic stuff we’ve been mostly hearing so far. The Republican Party’s love affair with its own ideological “base” is getting more than a little creepy.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • kindness on January 31, 2013 5:01 PM:

    Ask us how many of us are in favor of Texas suceeding.

  • c u n d gulag on January 31, 2013 5:12 PM:

    The Republican love affair with their ideological base, is like falling in love with a Zombie, whose only real goal is to eat your brains.

    Enjoy, Republicans!

    "Mission Accomplished!!!"

  • rrk1 on January 31, 2013 5:41 PM:

    The Rethugs have created a negative feedback loop for themselves. The more the few remaining sensible ones, if that's not already an oxymoron, look to reform the party in a more centrist direction, the more the Teahadists will do the crazy primary dance, thus eliminating the reformers. This is a recipe for implosion, and it shouldn't take more than another election cycle or two to isolate the crazy into a very small ultra-extremist minority.

    It's hard to know what qualifies as 'establishment' Republican anymore as the party has moved so far to the right. Prepuce, their chair, has to cater to all the factions, and he doesn't come across as the adult to do the heavy lifting for sensible change. When the money boys rebel something will happen, but there doesn't seem to be any sign of that yet.

    Meanwhile, we can savor their dilemma.

  • Slideguy on January 31, 2013 8:10 PM:

    Good lord, Ed. The election is four years off. The only person who cares at this point is Chris Matthews, and that's because it's the only issue that matters to him.

  • Coop on January 31, 2013 9:28 PM:

    I'm a native Texan, and I have to tell you the truth--living here gives one very little hope that any like human intelligence will ever appear in Texas at large. Most of the largest cities (Ft Worth is the big exception) actually seem to be aware of external reality, but the suburbs and rural areas might as well be in Oz.

  • Th on February 01, 2013 9:52 AM:

    I hear pro-Hillary comments from non-crazy conservatives fairly often, especially women. Maybe she really has some cross-over chops.

  • rk21 on February 01, 2013 11:17 AM:

    Oh please! This poll has no meaning. I heard so much about how evangelical Christians would not vote for a mormon. I did not believe it for one minute. Republicans are united in their hatred of democrats. Give it time. Clinton hating was in the republican bloodstream in the 90s. Wait till she starts running. It will be back with a vengeance. The only thing which will change Texas is that the idiots will either die off or they will be outnumbered by non idiots. A state which elects Rick Perry, and gave us George Bush is beyond redemption.

  • Wally on February 01, 2013 2:31 PM:

    I would point out that demographics don't favor sanity in Republican primaries for now. The U.S. population is aging and most of that pre-boomer population is white. And they vote. And many of those aging white people play pinochle or hang out at the piano in the assisted living center, lamenting how things have changed. The right wing primary candidates are very skilled at tapping into that nostalgia, fear, dementia and getting those nice, old folks angry and to the voting booth.

    No, there will be no change in right wing nuts being nominated until the demographics change in 10-15 years.