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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

GOP Election Year Dilemma: No One Cares About their Issues

(Keywords & tags: , , , s think that means you tell voters what to think)

Bad news for the GOP. A new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll shows that swing voters want exactly what the republicans aren't offering. The key findings of the study:

  • It is almost impossible to overestimate the anger of swing voters. 73 percent say the country is on the wrong track, 66 percent disapprove of the performance of George Bush and nearly half (49 percent) strongly disapprove. By nearly a 2:1 margin, voters describe the economy in negative terms; nearly one third struggle to make ends meet.
  • Politically, the swing vote swings against the Republicans. In named trial heats, these swing voters prefer Democratic candidates for Congress 45 - 28 percent over the Republicans; the Senate race, influenced disproportionately by Republican travails in Ohio and Pennsylvania, looks even worse for the incumbent party (53 - 31 percent).
  • Swing voters embrace an agenda that invests more money in new clean energy, affordable health care for all and strengthening education with these investments paid for by eliminating recently passed tax cuts for corporations and people making over $200,000 a year. But swing voters also make plain their concerns about the deficit and government accountability.

Nothing there about gay marriage or flag burning or abortion. These voters are concerned with what are known as 'kitchen table' issues; things a couple talks - and worries - about over breakfast. If the GOP thinks the issues they're concentrating on now appeal to anyone other than their lunatic base, they're screwed.

But, of course, republicans have done their own polling. What they hope to do is to get those crazies to the polls. Looking at what they must know about what people want and what they're offering, it's hard to believe that they haven't written off most voters and are just concentrating on limiting their losses in november.

The GQR poll shows a 17 point democratic lead in the House and a 22 point lead in the Senate. And that's in named races - in other words, voters were asked who they preferred in specific races. The republicans need to pull a rabbit out of their hat and pronto.

In a FOX News poll taken 6/13-14 asked respondents about priorities, offering them the options of Iraq, gas prices, immigration, same sex marriage, and flag burning. The results were Iraq 35%, gas prices 28%, immigration 26%, same sex marriage 5%, and flag burning scored a statistical zero.

Are the GOP desperately casting about for something that they stand for that connects with the voters? Sure seems that way.

As long as republicans continue to ignore the issues that people are concerned about,
they won't get very far. They had kind of a winner with illegal immigration, but their inability to get their shit together as a party on the issue killed that for them. There are too many racist psychos in the GOP and for every reasonable approach that moderates suggested, the loonie tunes screamed, "Amnesty!" - even when it clearly wasn't.

But, ranking at 26% in priority, immigration may be their only hope. Their problem is a conservative trend I call 'being a hard ass about everything'. By this, I mean that the GOP tends to look at any problem and see punishment as the solution - and about the harshest possible punishment. This is why we have proposals like Rep. F. Lee Sensenbrenner's, which would make illegal immigration a felony. Our courts would become clogged and our prisons filled with nonviolent offenders - causing a greater drain on public resources than undocumented people do now. But, since it means overreacting and bringing the hammer down as hard as you can, many conservatives see this as a good idea, despite the fact that it only makes things worse.

As the GOP gets farther down in the polls, their ideas get crazier and more pointless. In Wisconsin, Attorney General candidate Paul Bucher is running on just that kind of crazy-pointless kind of platform. He wants the authority from the federal government to track down illegal immigrants - again, this is Wisconsin. We probably have as large an illegal immigration problem as Alaska. Bucher promises, "I would use this authority to micro-target those illegal immigrants in this state who are violent criminals and felons cocaine dealers, gang bangers, murderers, child molesters and the like."

Don't we already do that? Since when do immigrants get a pass on committing crimes because they're undocumented? A moment's thought shows Bucher's idea for what it is - election year bullshit. Luckily, he doesn't stand a chance.

In the end, I doubt that the GOP will find an issue that connects with the voters. Mostly because today's republican party doesn't represent people so much as ideology. Unless they take a different course, they won't be able to gain any new voters this cycle. The best they can hope for is that their base doesn't stay home when the polls open.