Ten Miles Square


April 01, 2013 9:55 AM Do Republicans Need a Re-boot?

By John Sides

That is the subject of my latest post at Wonkblog.  It focuses on three claims that will be familiar to readers:

  • Romney was supposed to lose the 2012, based on the underlying economic and political fundamentals.

  • Romney was actually perceived as ideologically closer to the average voter than was Obama.

  • Since Obama took office, public opinion has become more conservative, not more liberal.

The point of the piece isn’t to suggest that the Republican Party can change absolutely nothing and be guaranteed of winning the White House in 2016.  The point is simply to complicate many of the storylines I’ve seen about what the GOP needs to do—most of which revolve around policy or ideology, and few of which acknowledge the role the fundamentals played in 2012 (in Obama’s favor) and could play in 2016 (in the GOP’s favor).

[Originally posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.


  • zandru on April 01, 2013 6:47 PM:

    I, like most Republicans, think the Grand Ol' Party is doing just fine the way it is and doesn't need to change a thing.

    Of course, I am a Democrat.

  • T2 on April 01, 2013 9:22 PM:

    The fundamentals of the GOP, which include blatant racism, sexism, homophobia and a clear desire to enrich the rich at the expense of the rest of us will not go away.
    Sides ought to know this, but he doesn't seem to.

  • TonyGreco on April 02, 2013 11:15 AM:

    "Since Obama took office, public opinion has become more conservative, not more liberal."

    This conclusion is based on surveys that ask people how liberal/conservative they are. I'm surprised that you put so much stock in such surveys. We know by now that mass publics have only a fuzzy idea of ideological distinctions: many, many people who describe themselves as conservative or moderate are "operationally liberal": they take liberal positions on a whole range of issues despite their subjective conservatism. Similarly, people express a preference for "smaller government" in the abstract, but when you ask them specifically about various government programs, it is clear that they really want active government.

    Has public opinion during Obama's tenure moved to the right on Social Security, Medicare, taxation, etc.? If you can show that, then you have an argument, but I doubt you can.