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Climate Is Right for Republicans, Good Presidential Candidate

2:04 PM, Jun 28, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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There are some interesting findings in a recent survey from Democracy Corps — a Democratic poll founded by James Carville, Stanley Greenberg, and Bob Shrum — and they don’t bode well for the Democrats. The poll’s respondents (all of whom are registered voters) say by an eye-opening margin of 17 points (48 to 31 percent) that Republicans, rather than Democrats, have “the right approach to spending and deficits.” Respondents also say that Republicans have “the right approach” on “the economy” (46 to 37 percent) and on “the economy and jobs” (43 to 40 percent).

In addition, the poll asked respondents to indicate their feelings toward various people, issues, or organizations, with a rating of 100 conveying a “very warm, favorable feeling” and a rating of 0 meaning “very cold.” Respondents were asked about 16 things (listed in order): the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Congress, Democrats in Congress, Barack Obama, their own congressional representative, John Boehner, Mitt Romney, the National Rifle Association (NRA), pro-life groups, labor unions, same-sex marriage, the state of the economy, the state of their personal finances, the Tea Party movement, and Obamacare.   

Here are the results: 

The three things toward which respondents feel the coldest are, in order, “the state of the economy” (average rating of 31.9), Obamacare (37.2), and same-sex marriage (41.2). On the latter, there is a 19-point margin between the percentage of respondents who give it a chilly rating of between 0 and 25 (44 percent) and those who give it a particularly warm rating of between 76 and 100 (25 percent).  Obamacare suffers from a 25-point deficit in this regard (40 percent in the chilliest quadrant, 15 percent in the warmest).  And “the state of the economy” suffers from a 44-point deficit (47 percent in the chilliest quadrant, 3 percent in the warmest).

In contrast, the things toward which respondents feel the warmest are the NRA (54.8 percent), their own congressional representative (54.9 percent if a Republican, 54.1 percent if a Democrat), and the state of their personal finances (54.0 percent). 

So the poll’s respondents are opposed to this economy, Obamacare, and same-sex marriage — and are pro-NRA. That doesn’t sound like a very good political environment for Democrats. And yet Barack Obama was the next-highest finisher (4th) among the people or things toward whom respondents feel the warmest feelings (51.4 percent). The lesson? The political climate is ripe for the Republicans, but they need the right presidential candidate to take advantage of it: one who is solid on the economy, Obamacare, and social issues, alike.

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