David Kirkpatrick

May 20, 2009

GOP purism and the incredible shrinking base

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:49 pm

Before I get into the heart of this post, the shrinking of the Republican Party is not hard to understand given that this bit of stupidity is still making news:

Republican Party leaders are trying to avoid airing a family feud over a GOP effort to rename the Democratic Party the ”Socialist Democrat” party.

Here’s some new and daunting numbers from Gallup on GOP party identification.

This can be chalked up to a popular Democratic president:


But this is just brutal. The GOP is losing people who self-identify as Republicans across the board aside from weekly church attenders where the party remained flat. Just take a look at these numbers and start wondering when the GOP will regain a viable chance to win anything aside from hyperlocal elections and very, very safe national seats.

The Gallup chart:


There are many, many reasons for this dramatic decline and the first bit linked in this post is very indicative of the sheer brain-dead brain trust in the GOP.

Another place to look for people leaving the party is the idiocy and vitriol from national figures. Many traditional Republicans, particularly fiscal conservatives, no longer want to be associated with the GOP as the party has given over to stronger and stronger theocratic tendencies over time.

Another place is something I’ve blogged about before and somewhat blew off as a novelty and a fun distraction — right wing comment boards.

Here’s what I wrote last month:

The second area where the Internet has truly changed the electorate can be found on the forums, comment sections and user communities of partisan websites. I’m sure you’ve read about the “wing nuts” on the right and the “moon bats” or “nut roots” on the left. The latter is a takeoff from Netroots, the online political activism arm of the left.

The change these groups bring is the tone from both the right and the left. Much more raw, much more virulently partisan and much more attacking. If these sites are all you read, you’d think all political discourse in the U.S. has devolved into little more than petty spats and rumor-mongering. My take is the overall electorate is pretty sane and even-headed, whether partisan, or not. The net simply gives the fringe voice a very public, and loud, so-to-speak, outlet. At one point in time these voices might occasionally get a letter to the editor published in a local newspaper, but probably not all that often and the tone would be subject to editorial control.

Internet communities, particularly unmoderated forums and message boards, give this part of the electorate an unchecked outlet that reaches anyone online who chooses to visit the site and read the messages.

It’s empowering for the everyday voter, for certain, but the signal-to-noise level is so low I can’t help but wonder if the fringe of the electorate on both sides might not be having an inordinate effect on undecided and independent voters. Either through spreading baseless rumors – and both parties have been victims of this tactic – or through just distracting voters from the message the party is promoting.

I have to admit reading these forums offers a certain voyeuristic appeal, and culturally they are a fascinating phenomena. I’m just not too sure what value they are adding to political discourse.

One thing that changed my thoughts on this is for every rabid commenter, almost any political website will have many, many more readers that never make their presence known, but likely read the comments.

After reading views they hold render them RINOs who need to get out of the GOP to ensure party purity — and true conservatism, whatever that means. I’m convinced most of those railing about RINOs have no idea what political conservatism honestly means — decide that maybe those commenters hoping to enforce party purity are correct and the more independent-minded Republican becomes a right-leaning voter who no longer is a sure GOP vote at the ballot box.

There’s a lot of hand wringing in the GOP over the state of the party, but all those party leaders who publicly call out more moderate Republicans are fueling the comment section purity tests. And they might just end up getting their way — a GOP that matches their belief system perfectly, and matches the beliefs of about 20 percent of the electorate. Good luck winning any election with those numbers.

January 29, 2009

If this chart doesn’t wake the GOP up nothing will

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:10 pm

Talk about a marginalized party. Whatever the base really is, it isn’t a wining coalition. This story at the New York Times and research from Gallup ought to be very, very sobering.

From the link:

Yesterday Gallup released a report on its survey of political party affiliation by voters at the state level. The results, depicted in the map above, show that only five states have a statistically significant majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans. The data come from interviews last year with “more than 350,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking.”

Here’s the dirty truth from Gallup:



And here’s some analysis from David Frum at NewMajority.com, taken rom the NYT link:

David Frum at the NewMajority.com asks “Base? What base?”:

These are the numbers that make yesterday’s flexing of muscle by Rush Limbaugh over Georgia congressman Phil Gingery not merely ridiculous but actively dangerous. When Republicans line up behind Rush Limbaugh in this way, they are dividing the country 80-20 against themselves. Our supreme priority now has to be to reinvent ourselves as a pragmatic, inclusive, modern party of free enterprise and limited government. We have to relearn how to talk to moderates, independent, younger voters, educated voters, women – it’s a long list.

Instead, our congressmen talk to and about Rush Limbaugh like Old Bolsheviks praising Comrade Stalin at their show trials. Rush is right! We see eye to eye with Rush! There is no truth outside Rush!

October 31, 2008

Whoa — Gallup polling four days out

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:50 pm
Sorry Gallup, this link goes to the Daily Kos. Mostly because it’s value-added if you hit the comments after checking out the extra content.

October 24, 2008

Gallup’s numbers a week-and-a-half out

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:07 pm

Remain strong for Obama.

From the link:

Barack Obama maintains a statistically significant lead over John McCain among likely voters interviewed Tuesday through Thursday as part of the Gallup Poll Daily tracking program, with a 51% to 44% margin using an “expanded” model that takes into account possibly greater turnout by new or infrequent voters, and a 50% to 45% margin using the “traditional” model Gallup has employed in past elections.



These results are based on Oct. 21-23 polling. The precise numbers vary slightly from day to day, as would be expected given normal sampling considerations and the high-visibility campaign currents that are swirling around voters in the closing days of the campaign. Obama’s share of the vote has been within a very narrow range of 49% to 51% among the traditional likely voter group over the last two weeks, and within a 50% to 53% range among the expanded likely voter group. There has been only slightly more fluidity in McCain’s share, ranging from 44% to 47% among traditional likely voters, and 42% to 46% among the expanded group. These slight shifts in estimates of each candidate’s share are minimal. Nothing so far represents a major change in the structure of the race, and the big picture conclusion is that Obama is maintaining his lead over McCain with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.

If you’re catching this page from a web search for Gallup polling and have yet to check out FiveThirtyEight.com, I heartily suggest you do so. The polls are statistically crunched (by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus fame) every day, plus he runs 10,000 simulated electoral results to provide projections for the presidential and Senate races.

October 16, 2008

Gallup sees race tighten after last debate

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:44 pm

But nothing like the Drudge Report highlight.

Here’s today’s Gallup release:

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report from Monday through Wednesday shows Barack Obama with a 49%to 43% lead over John McCain among registered voters.


Almost all of the interviews in this three-day rolling average were conducted before Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate at Hofstra University, which began at 9 p.m. ET. It will be several days before the full impact of this debate can be measured in the three-day rolling average, although its initial impact might be apparent as early as Friday’s report.

So where did Drudge get those numbers (Obama 49, McCain 47)? A real, but older and somewhat set aside, set of criteria. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight unpacks things a bit here.

From the link:

Slow news day, Matt? If this is a two-point race right now, I’ll eat Drudge’s fedora. None of the dozen or so other polls that were in the field this week shows a race that close. Nor do either of the alternate versions of Gallup’s model, including the so-called Likely Voters II model that I find most credible. (Drudge, of course, had no interest in featuring the Zogby poll, as he had for the past several of days on his site, but which today showed Obama gaining ground.)

Let me be clear: I don’t blame Drudge for trying to drive the narrative. Unlike certain other folks, it’s not as though he’s made any claim to being objective. With real news — which polls aren’t — he generally has excellent and entertaining instincts.

October 13, 2008

I didn’t need a poll to tell me Democratic excitement …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:25 pm

… is way higher than GOP fever, but this Gallup poll puts it into very clear perspective. I wouldn’t want to be a downticket GOP candidate this year, especially since McCain might actually keep voters out of the booth on November 4.

From the lInk:

Only 51% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in previous years, compared to 71% of Democrats, marking a shift from October 2004, when enthusiasm was about the same for both partisan groups.


This disproportionate enthusiasm, measured in a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted over the weekend, is not a new phenomenon this year. Democrats have reported a higher “more enthusiastic” reading each of the seven times Gallup has asked the question in 2008. The smallest gap was a 7-point Democratic advantage in the Sept. 5-7 USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted just after the Republican National Convention.

The Gallup Poll Daily has Obama up 51% to 41%

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:37 pm

From this link:

Voter preferences in the presidential race continue to be generally auspicious for Barack Obama’s election prospects only three weeks ahead of the eve of Election Day. Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 51% to 41%, among all registered voters, according to Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Oct. 10-12.


The percentage of registered voters favoring Obama has been 50%, 51%, or 52% in each Gallup Poll Daily tracking report since Oct. 4. Support for McCain has been a steady 41% to 43% across the same time period. Thus, although the gap between the two candidates has varied from seven to 11 points in recent days, voter preferences have, in fact, been quite stable. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

March 24, 2008

McCain, Obama and Clinton all poll around 47%

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:39 pm

Every Gallup iteration between Obama, Clinton and McCain is pretty much a statistical tie.

Seems to me to bode poorly for McCain. He’s had free reign for weeks now and Obama’s taken heavy fire between the Wright and Rezko flaps and Clinton’s kitchen sink/toilet strategy. Once she’s out of the way I expect his numbers against McCain to steadily rise.

From the link:

PRINCETON, NJ — The Democratic nomination battle — having undergone significant shifts last week during the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy — is now back to a virtual tie between Barack Obama (favored by 47% of national Democratic voters), and Hillary Clinton (chosen by 46%).

Today’s results are based on interviews conducted in the three days prior to Easter Sunday, March 20-22. The results confirm Gallup’s March 22 reportshowing that Clinton’s recent lead in the race — apparently fueled by controversy dogging the Obama campaign over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — had evaporated.

At the same time, thus far Obama has not been able to reestablish the clear frontrunner position he enjoyed in late February, and again in mid-March. As has happened so often over the past six weeks, the race among national Democratic voters has become “too close to call.” (To view the complete trend since Jan. 2, 2008, click here.)

Gallup’s general election ballots, pitting presumptive Republican nominee John McCain against Obama and Clinton, continue to show McCain with a slight edge. According to the latest five-day rolling average, from March 18-22, McCain holds a three percentage point lead over Obama in the preferences of national registered voters, and a 2-point lead over Clinton. — Lydia Saad