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Jewish World Review
Oct. 1, 2013/ 27 Tishrei, 5774
Study shows where GOP has BIG edge
A fascinating new study shows that after 5 years of failed Obama economic policies, the voters in one key group are (finally) turning away from the Democrats. How should the GOP capitalize on this heartening trend?
The conventional wisdom is that a shutdown will hurt the GOP among independents. I question that assumption for this reason: most "independent-minded" people understand that Obamacare is a wrecking ball to the economy and see the inherent unfairness in system that gives big biz delays and subsidies while the working class is left to carry the bag (again). Certainly the media obviously prefer the spin of the heartless, fractious GOP shutting the government down.
But if you call yourself an "Independent," do you really get your cues from the New York Times or MSNBC?
I don't think so.
If you have rejected either the "R" or "D" label, most likely are aware that it is Harry Reid and Barack Obama who refuse to sit down with House Speaker John Boehner. Independents also know that on issue after issue the "Establishment" has flunked a basic competency test.
(See, e.g., border enforcement, Iraq & Afghanistan, NAFTA, the 2008 financial crisis, the anemic recovery, and our massive trade deficit with China. Oh, and how could I forget [drumroll please]...the $16.8 trillion national debt anvil tied to our nation's torso, that will slowly but surely drag us under.)
Republicans' translating support among independents to victory in 2014 and 2016 is, of course, not a foregone conclusion. (Just ask Mitt Romney.) They must be show courage, not arrogance, and put forward a credible, compelling series of proposals that more Americans understand will help improve the lives of the middle class. (What the elites from both parties have failed miserably to do for more than a decade.) Chris Cillizza breaks it down in the Washington Post:
On the question of congressional preference Which political party would you prefer controlled Congress? independent voters in 2013 lean more heavily toward the GOP than they did in 2010, when Republicans picked up 63 seats to retake control of the House. In 2010, 40 percent of independents said they wanted a GOP-controlled Congress, while 26 percent said they wanted a Democratic-led one. In an NBC-WSJ survey from July to September of this year, 43 percent of independents said they wanted GOP control, while 25 percent preferred a Democratic House majority. (NBC-WSJ began asking the congressional-preference question for this year in July, hence the lack of a year's worth of data.) By contrast, in 2012, when Democrats picked up eight House seats, independents were split 35 percent Democrats, 34 percent GOP when it came to which party they wanted to control Congress.
(Worth noting: Roberts's analysis is based on a single question congressional preference over time. Although it is considered a strong, broad gauge, it should not be taken as the end all, be all of data points.)
The reason for the GOP tilt of independents? Roberts thinks it has much to do with President Obama's faltering numbers among that group. In the third quarter of this year July to September 50 percent of independents surveyed by NBC-WSJ had a negative image of Obama, while 32 percent had a positive image. Six in 10 disapproved of the job he was doing overall; in particular, 63 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy. Throw in the fact that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of independents surveyed in the third quarter of 2013 think the country is on the wrong track and it becomes clear why independents are aligning with Republicans.
Are these just Republicans who are disgusted with the state of the party and are temporarily identifying themselves as independents? (Remember that Mitt Romney actually won independents by five points over Obama in 2012 but still lost the election convincingly.) No, said Roberts, who analyzed the demographics among independents across 2010, 2012 and 2013 and found remarkable similarities in the group's makeup. In 2010, a great year for Republicans, 58 percent of independents were men. Two years later, a good year for Democrats, 55 percent of independents were men. In 2013, 56 percent of them are men. The story is the same across age, ideology and geographic region. Those identifying as independents in 2010 and 2012 look a lot like people who call themselves independents today.
Viewed broadly, the data on independents culled by Roberts make one thing clear: Republicans are well positioned among electorally critical independent voters heading into the 2014 election if and this is a major if the party can keep the focus on Obama and off its internal rifts, which have been on full display over the past week. Independent voters want to vote for Republicans if only the GOP could get out of its own way.
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