GOP Primary Fight Hurting The GOP

A new Pew Research Study seems to indicate that the Republican nomination fight is hurting the image of the party among the independent voters it will need to attract when the General Election comes around:

As the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination unfolds, more Americans say their impression of the GOP field is worsening than improving. Those views, however, have not resulted in a better view of President Barack Obama at this point.

By a margin of two-to-one, more say that their impression of the GOP field is getting worse (31%) than getting better (14%). Half (50%) say their impression remains the same as they learn more about the Republican candidates.

About one-in-five (19%) say their impression of Obama has improved as they learn more about the Republicans. About as many (21%) say that the GOP campaign is worsening their impression of the president. Most (58%) say the Republicans have had no effect on their feelings about Obama.

The negative margin in evaluations of the GOP field rises to three-to-one (29% worse vs. 10% better) among independents, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Dec. 1-4 among 1,008 adults. Still, more than half (55%) say their impression is unchanged.

On their face the numbers don’t look that bad. After all, the majority of voters, and of independents, say that their overall impression of the GOP hasn’t changed as a result of the primary fight and we really don’t know what impact any of this will have on voting decisions eleven months from now. Nonetheless, these elections are often won and lost at the margins, and painting the GOP as extreme is clearly going to be part of the Democratic game plan next year. If all they have to do is point to the circus we’ve been going through these past few months, it may not be hard for them to plant that idea in the heads of enough voters to make a differences in a swing state or two.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    I’m with the 50%…my impression hasn’t changed either…the GOP field is like a clown-car.
    The only thing missing is the biggest clown of all, Sarah. If only…

  2. legion says:

    and we really don’t know what impact any of this will have on voting decisions eleven months from now.

    That’s the key point – will any of these Independents and non-extreme Republicans actually remember how buffoonish these people are when the general election rolls around? History and my cynical gut say “no” – they’ll continue chanting “Anyone But Obama”, without the slightest realization of what that means for the country.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    Mr Mataconis, you say “painting the GOP as extreme is clearly going to be part of the Democratic game plan”. The implication is that this would not be a true depiction of the GOP. Your editor should have straightened that out.

  4. de stijl says:

    A new Pew Research Study seems to indicate that the Republican nomination fight is hurting the image of the party…

    I would hold that the debate audiences, and the red meat craving portion of the base, are hurting the party’s image as much as the candidates.

    First, there are the unfortunate instances at the debates where the audience behaved, well let’s just call it less than charitably. On video and easily available to package into a tidy little ad.

    Also, these are the people who keep pumping up candidates like Trump, Bachman, Perry, Cain and now Gingrich. One or two of these people are arguably of Presidential timber if your bar is set especially low, but let’s face it – the rest are a flat out embarrassment to the Republican party and to the country. To see them leading the polls for a major party Presidential race chills me to the bone.

    Someone like Trump reflects poorly on Trump, poorly on the Party, but perhaps worse on those who support a candidate like him. We have met the enemy and he is us.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? Demographics is going to eliminate the Republican Party no matter what the image is. The incompetence of the Bush Administration just sped up the collapse of the Republican Party and now the Republicans are without anyone talented enough to be president.

    I wonder when political historians will makr the U.S. as the beginning of the one-party era.