Quote of the Day: “Americans Remain Moderate” Says Pew Research Center’s Kohut

Our political Quote of the Day comes from the Pew Research Center’s Andrew Kohut, who notes that some of the poor election results for the Republican ticket was due to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney being an extremely weak candidate — and the fact that Americans are basically moderate:

Postelection talk of “lessons learned” is often exaggerated and misleading, and so it is in 2012.

A week after President Obama won re-election, two themes are dominant. First, that Mr. Obama kept his job because key elements of his base—notably young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans—turned out for him. Second, that the growing size of these voting blocs represents a decisive challenge for the Republican Party.

Both points are true, but most observers are overstating the gravity of the GOP’s problem. In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how much that hurt Republican prospects.

He gives details and then at the end of his Wall Streeet Journal piece writes:

In short, the current American electorate is hardly stacked against the Republican Party. But Republicans should recognize that, on balance, Americans remain moderate—holding a mix of liberal and conservative views. They generally believe that small government is better and that ObamaCare is bad. But the exit poll shows that 59% believe abortion should be legal, 65% support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a surprising plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states.

Threading the ideological needle with this electorate is vital for the Republicans in the future—and for the Democrats, too.

Indeed, the bases of BOTH parties (uh, oh, here come the tiresome “false equivilency” police before I even hit “PUBLISH” on this post) often diss moderates and say the word sneeringly. But, in reality, both parties need moderates because the base of neither party could win elections totally on their own.

The huge error of Republicans in recent years with Fox News and on many conservative websites is to assume their party can work to actively purge moderates or make their arguments in a way that displays concept for those who may be more moderates. The Democrats — during this election year at least — seemed to be wooing moderate voters and it work: Obama won moderate voters handily.

Romney tried in the end with his stunning position shifts during his first debate with Obama, but by then his image was cooked — and moderates turning on Fox News, talk radio or reading some of the statements made by some of the GOPers who went down to flaming defeat didn’t help the GOP with moderate voters.

And, in particular, didn’t help Romney.

5 Comments

  1. Those polls on social policy have been out there for a long time….it’s not like this month’s exit polls are new news.

    Translation–Mitt Romney and the Republican Party knew all of this at the time of the primaries……that’s when they all should have realized the “threading of the needle” was going to be a difficult proposition.

    The issue now is that it really wasn’t a landslide loss and socons can do some math in a couple of the key swing states and realize if they generate a few hundred thousand more in each of Ohio, Florida, Colorado, do they really have to subjugate their views for the purpose of beating the Dems.

    In one sense, it would have been helpful if Romney really got kicked like McGovern or Dukakis….the need to change things was more in evidence when the Dems had to decide this same question.

  2. The issue now is that it really wasn’t a landslide loss and socons can do some math in a couple of the key swing states and realize if they generate a few hundred thousand more in each of Ohio, Florida, Colorado, do they really have to subjugate their views for the purpose of beating the Dems.
    This won’t work. A large majority of Americans are socially liberal and fiscals conservatives. The Murdock’s and Akin’s will lose this vote for the foreseeable future.

  3. Whatever “moderate” means to the public at large. I don’t even want to know. We are talking about a public whose grasp of what should be common knowledge is weak at best. I’m glad I was born in 1952 – and I’m glad I don’t want to live forever.

  4. Whoa, wait a minute. One can’t say the country is “moderate” because we have a “mix of liberal & conservative values”.

    That’s like taking a gallon of boiling water and a gallon of frozen water and saying “there’s a nice cup of tea.” Both are undrinkable and you’re damned thirsty.

    We are Ideologically divided, we are not moderate. There’s a big difference there.

  5. Moderate means something different to each party. Is a “liberal” Republican a moderate? or a “conservative” Democrat a moderate? LOL, every person I know, Dem or Rep describes themselves as a moderate…meaning I assume, they are not extremists…or rather don’t SEE themselves as such.
    Barky has a valid point. There is no middle ground for two completely opposing ideologies, so I am not sure what the WSJ was saying. If you mix a liberal and a conservative, they make a moderate? Possibly..if they are the SAME person, but otherwise we just have alot of liberals and conservatives banging heads. :)

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