‘Nightmare Charts’ for Republicans?
The New York Times has an interesting and, I am sure, controversial opinion piece, which from the beginning (Title: “G.O.P. Nightmare Charts”) to its conclusion (see below) suggests that present trends “do not bode well for Republicans.”
All sarcasm aside and keeping in mind that the Times is called a “liberal newspaper” and worse, that it is written in “a place for opinionated political thinkers from all over the United States to make their arguments about everything connected to the 2012 election”, that polls and surveys are meaningless, unless they support one’s position; that it is still a long time before the elections and that the writer bringing this to your attention is a biased Democrat, here is a thumbnail.
The author, Charles Blow, has selected two questions “tucked away” in two polls that caught his eye but do not grab the headlines.
Questions that, according to Blow, “get us away from the presidential race, both of which highlight just how much trouble the Republican brand continues to find itself in despite the party’s many legislative and statehouse victories in 2010.” Blow adds: “Public sentiment is slowly drifting away from the Republicans in a way that must be giving the party’s long-range strategists sleepless nights.”
What are the two questions?
The first question comes from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey released on Tuesday (question number 27). It read:
“When it comes to (READ ITEM), which party do you feel is most attuned and sensitive to issues that affect this group.”
Among the “Items” are groups such as religious conservatives, men and women in the military, retirees, stay-at-home moms, Hispanics or Latinos, Gays and Lesbians.
You can analyze the responses and charts yourself. Blow summarizes:
The chart illustrates just how narrow Republican support is. Respondents viewed Republicans as more sensitive to religious conservatives, people in the military and small business owners. That’s not enough for a winning coalition. For everyone else — including the middle class, young adults and Hispanics — Democrats won out. Democrats even scored higher than Republicans among some groups that conventional wisdom associates with supporting Republicans, like retirees and stay-at-home moms. (I wish that the pollsters had also asked about men and racial groups, but unfortunately they did not.)
The second question comes from a Gallup morality poll that was also released on Tuesday. The question read:
“Next, I’m going to read you a list of issues. Regardless of whether or not you think it should be legal, for each one, please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong.”
Some of the issues in the list are divorce, gambling, sex between an unmarried man and a woman, birth control, medical research using embryonic stem cells, gay or lesbian relations, abortion, pornography, the death penalty and suicide.
Again you can do your own analysis. Among Blow’s comments:
Of the 18 moral issues, Democrats were more permissive than Republicans on 14. No surprise there. But what was a bit surprising was that on seven issues, independents eked out a small margin of permissiveness over Democrats. (This may be due in part to the fact that some devout Democrats like blacks are rather conservative, socially speaking.)
Republicans were only more permissive than Democrats and independents on three measures and they all had to do with the killing of people and animals — the death penalty, buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur and medical testing on animals. Interpret that as you will.
Independents were closer to Democrats than to Republicans on 13 of the 18 issues outlined. The only exceptions were medical research using embryonic stem cells, the death penalty, suicide and human cloning. (On cloning animals, Democrats and Republicans were both less permissive than independents, and in equal measure).
When people are asked to identify themselves by political ideology, Americans may appear to be center-right, but independents look more like Democrats than Republicans on moral issues.
Ergo, Blow’s verdict that all this does not bode well for Republicans “as the composition and conscience of the country continues to change” and as “we are slowly becoming less religious, more diverse and increasingly open-minded.”
Analyze it all for yourself here.