A follow up to the results of this poll posted yesterday.
If Republicans want to leverage Scott Brown’s Massachusetts victory into a November electoral avalanche, they’ll need to keep their base riled up — but not too riled up.
The party’s greatest challenge, operatives and elected officials in both parties say, is keeping the conservative base energized without overshooting the mainstream and driving away the moderate “Brown independents” they’ll need to take back Congress.
And a new poll from Daily Kos shows how hard that’s going to be.
The poll of 2,000 Republicans — sponsored by the liberal website but conducted by independent pollster Research2000 — paints a picture of a Republican base that’s angry, disaffected and acutely hostile to President Barack Obama. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans polled think Obama should be impeached, 36 percent say he wasn’t born in the United States and one in four say they aren’t even sure he’s a U.S. citizen. Another 63 percent labeled the president a “socialist.”
Those numbers are far higher than similar polls of Democrats and independents — polls that reveal dissatisfaction with many of Obama’s programs but not with the president personally.
“It was the first time we ever asked the impeachment question, ... but ask independents if Obama was born in the U.S., and about 85 percent say yes,” said Research2000 President Del Ali.
“This shows a huge vulnerability for Republicans,” says Jef Pollock, a veteran pollster and Democratic strategist working for Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — who was forced to bolt from the GOP after conservative Pat Toomey attacked him from the right.
“Independents, who are particularly disinclined toward any kind of partisan rhetoric, are going to be turned off when they hear Republicans say stuff like this, which is patently crazy,” Pollock said.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who urged party leaders to abandon ideological purity tests on abortion and gay rights earlier this year, thinks Brown’s victory was a cue for both parties to shift to the center.
“We need to appeal to independents,” Snowe told POLITICO on Tuesday.
“I think every candidate really needs to assess that capability. I think it’s important. I do in Maine, and I would assume that all candidates, in how they position themselves in their respective elections, would be.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has questioned the validity of Obama’s citizenship, says the GOP needs to harness the energy of the tea party movement — and that means pushing deeper into anti-Obama territory.
I like to think this is true, because the results of that poll show the Republicans really are batshit these days. However, it depends on two things: 1) that enough people will become aware of this craziness to make a difference, which is not very likely given the overall apathy of the American people toward our political process, and 2) that the Democrats will be able to make some political hay out of this, which after seeing the way they've floundered around in Congress lately would take a miracle, IMO. Also, I really hate all the concern about coddling to the damn right-wing base when all the left-wing base ever gets is an order to bend over.