Two Gallup polls, released on the same day: Monday, May 18. Wildly different headlines. Part of a bigger story, but some can only seem to latch on to one or the other.
Those who trumpeted the results of the survey showing across-the-board demographic losses for the Republican Party since 2001 (conducted from January to April of this year) might also want to note the results of the survey showing Republican-leaning support matching Democrat-leaning support for the first time in nearly four years.
My interpretation? All told, the eight years of George Bush and the increasingly profligate dealings of the Republican majority in Congress were bad for the GOP brand and coalition. At the same time, the early months of the Barack Obama administration — combined with the gaffes of Nancy Pelosi and crew — show the Democrats squandering their advantage.
More people may be leaning Republican than a few months ago, but it would be foolish to imagine there being any real depth to that support. When it comes down to election time, they will be looking for a genuine alternative.
Let’s hope the GOP doesn’t follow the Democrats’ lead and squander the opportunity. The Republicans can unite behind a serious, solutions-oriented, fiscally conservative program and regain their majority status in a few election cycles. Or they can cling to the Democrats’ skirts and fade away into a generation or more of irrelevance.
Need a hint about what voters think about tax-and-spend policies, the growing Big Government blob, and politicians in general? Look no further than Deep Blue California and their overwhelming rejection of business as usual (PDF).
We live in interesting times.