The GOP and the South

Throughout the year polling from Research 2000 has consistently shown that Republican support on the generic congressional ballot question is largely limited to the South -- a finding that if borne out on election day would seriously inhibit the GOP's ability to make serious gains in next year's midterm elections (let alone retake Congress). Last week, however, McClatchy released its own numbers to the contrary, prompting me to wonder aloud if we might be able to see more data to get a sense of whether or not the GOP will be able to play outside of the South in 2010. The Economist (.pdf) has released its own numbers in the time since, too, and although the fact that their survey polled respondents via the internet (which leaves my inherently skeptical), it's nevertheless worth adding their data to the mix.

If the 2010 elections for U.S. Congress were being held today, who would you vote for in the district where you live? (leaners included)

AllNorth-
east
Mid-
west
SouthWest
Democrats45.758.043.241.943.6
Republicans37.129.636.340.938.0

As you can see, the polling from The Economist does show the GOP to be stronger in the South than it is elsewhere -- though not in a statistically significant way (remember that the margin of error for subgroups is much larger than the margin of error for the survey as a whole). That said, these numbers look more like those from McClatchy showing that the Republicans, while not overly popular across the country, nevertheless are earning similar support in all regions aside from the Northeast, where they have been wiped out in recent years. To put it another way, we have a bit more evidence that the Republicans' electoral support in 2010 may not in fact be limited to the South.

I'd still like to see more data on this, and hope that pollsters continue to release regional breakdowns of their generic congressional ballot questions, which although not always statistically reliable in their own right would when combined provide a clearer picture of where the battlegrounds will come in 2010. But for now I'm beginning to think it not wise for the Democrats to become overly comfortable under the belief that GOP support is by and large limited to the South.

Tags: Generic Congressional Ballot, Republicans, South (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: The GOP and the South

THese COngressional elections will come down to how Obama is doing in fall of 2010, and if local Dems want to jump on his bandwagon. Whatever they do, they need to not take advice from Creigh Deeds campagin manager...

by xodus1914 2009-11-10 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP and the South

I agree, and how Obama does in fall of 2010 will depend on how well we create jobs during 2010, and how effective we are at blaming Republicans for the global economic meltdown.

Our major strategy going into next year should be to create green jobs and launch a massive attack on the Republican culture of corruption, which is the main cause of our economic crisis.

If we create jobs and keep Republicans heavily on the defensive across the board, we stand to win 3-7 Senate seats and additional House seats in 2010.

If those Senate projections seem high, check Nate Silver's March 09 Senate chart to see how at risk many Republican Senators were before we started playing defense to pass health care.

One last point, the white working class who could potentially be our worst enemy in 2010 have a very strong populist streak that keeps them furious at the bank bailouts and bonuses.  We need to get a lot done over the next several years, and the top tax rate now stands at a bit under 40 percent.  I'm sure the white working class would energetically support a 5-10 percent increase on incomes over $500,000 to pay for jobs creation and everything else we need to do.  These same voters would also reward the Democrats' courage in standing up to the rich  by voting Democratic in 2010.

by Georgeo57 2009-11-10 10:23AM | 0 recs
unemployment in the industrial Midwest

could be a big problem for Democrats next year. Michigan has the country's highest unemployment rate, and I read over the weekend that Indiana and Iowa are the states most dependent on manufacturing as a percentage of GDP.

I don't think a 1994 scenario is possible, because the GOP won't have as many open seat or southern targets, but I think they could make some gains in the Midwest.

by desmoinesdem 2009-11-10 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: unemployment in the industrial Midwest

Iowa? That's farm country...

by vecky 2009-11-10 11:27AM | 0 recs
a lot of small towns are factory towns

The Des Moines Register just published a big feature on this:

Boone, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa and other places with fewer than 30,000 residents have lost nearly 20,000 factory jobs since 2007, when the current recession began nationally. That's twice as many production positions than Iowa has lost in metro areas such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, data from ISU economist Liesl Eathington show. The loss of factory floor jobs may seem a remote concern for city office workers, but the fate of small-town manufacturing - usually high-paying jobs with good benefits - is crucial to Iowa's economy.

Production of grain bins, car crushers and cereal makes up the largest chunk of Iowa's economy at 21 percent, about $28.2 billion of the state's $135.7 billion gross domestic product, 2008 federal data show. Manufacturing contributes more to Iowa's economy than insurance and finance, construction, and agriculture combined. Iowa's economic dependence on manufacturing ranks second in the nation only after Indiana.

by desmoinesdem 2009-11-10 02:29PM | 0 recs
Alternatives

So I can definitely see, if the dems can't either get a handle on the jobs situation or at least make a case they're doing something for the unemployed, the sort of Creigh Deeds base deflation scenario happening on a large scale.

What I can't really see is the GOP (the Congressional GOP, at least) actively capitalizing on this. The problem is that even if people are dissatisfied with the dems on jobs it seems difficult to imagine how anyone could consider the Republicans any better. The Dems have been at least trying to do things on jobs, the Republicans have been fighting them every step of the way and successfully held them back from doing more. If this isn't already completely plain to voters it should be extremely easy for any Democratic candidate not actually voting with the Republicans to make that case. The jobs thing can hurt Democrats or hurt turnout, it can't help Republicans or flip votes.

The Republican case to voters right now relies on distractions, getting people to focus on socialism and Ameros. It's based around convincing people the government is their biggest problem, bigger than jobs. What do they have to offer someone for whom "jobs" actually is the biggest problem?

by mcc 2009-11-10 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Alternatives

The problem is if the Creigh Deeds deflation scenario happens, then the GOP doesn't need to actively capitalize on anything.

Creigh Deeds didn't lose because independents changed their vote from Democrats in 2008 to Republican in 2009, or because Virginia voters suddenly liked Republicans -- he lost because Republican-leaning-independents voted and Democrat-leaning-independents didn't vote.

I agree that there's nothing the GOP can do to flip votes; their only hope lies in low turnouts. Democrats need to get everyone to the polls again to continue to win (and note that isn't a case of us getting out our base -- it's a case of us getting out traditionally unreliable voters).

by fsm 2009-11-10 01:14PM | 0 recs
Bob McDonnells are rare in the GOP

at some point we need to recognize that what he did was hide his ultra-conservativism and make promises he has no intention of ever keeping.

Same with Christie.

by ND22 2009-11-10 04:10PM | 0 recs
Republicans may be peaking early

They have just hammered Obama and the Democrats all summer over the stimulus, health care and now about jobs.

Positive growth is muting their stimulus arguments.   If health care passes that issue will lose steam for them over time.   That leaves jobs.  

After all this hammering, after a lot of job loss, after all the town hall screaming, Republicans still trail and can only scramble above 40% in the south.  

If the job market starts to tick up in the spring as some predict we might look back on these couple of weeks as when the Republicans peaked.

by RichardFlatts 2009-11-10 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans may be peaking early

There's NO "positive growth" without jobs and there are no jobs. This is the worst jobs market in decades, and what else matters?

Reality: NOTHING matters to people beyond jobs and income at this point. And there will be little or no jobs recovery regardless of how many Wall Street analysts on CNN become giddy with excitement over the "new bull market."

The only way to prevent massive losses next year would be to have a SECOND STIMULUS BILL: this time targeted to put back the cuts in revenue sharing for the states that conservatives and Republicans cut out of the Stimulus bill in the name of "bi-partisanship."

But, Obama is not going to do that! Instead he'll listen to all the ass-hats who were WRONG about everything for the last 8 years telling us that "gasp!" we have a massive deficit! We need to CUT SPENDING and get this horrible deficit under control!

Of course they couldn't have cared less about the deficit when Dick Cheney said on national TV: "Ronald Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

That's now down the memory hole. The instant Democrats take power -- THEN deficits instantly become the top priority for all the chattering class. The exact same thing happened in 2003 of course. Nobody in D.C. cared a fig about Reagan or Bush's deficits but the STIMULUS! Horrors!

Obama is playing RIGHT INTO this theme and not even bothering to FIGHT! And his presidency will be totally destroyed as a result.

Either health care will pass this year or not at all. And nothing will pass next year due to all the deficit hysteria. Then in 2010 Republicans will gain 20 seats in the House and 4 or 5 in the Senate and the conventional wisdom will be that Obama has to tack to the right and become a deficit hawk!

He certainly can't listen to all those Dirty F-Hippies on the left telling him to actually do something about jobs or education or global warming or anything that might actually cost MONEY.

No. Obama must become Clinton part II if he's to survive. Hire a Dick Morris and campaign against the base of the Democratic party.

The D.C. gas-bags will never forgive him if he ignores their advice that "belt tightening" (Ours never theirs) is what the American people need.

by Cugel 2009-11-10 11:06AM | 0 recs
Look at the economic numbers

Jobs lag.   That is a fact.

We have swung to positive growth.   Manufacturing is increasing.  Home sales / values are increasing.  The stock market is increasing (yes that matters).  The service sector even had good numbers last week.  

Jobs lag but if history is a guide and the experts are right, jobs should follow in about six months after swinging to growth.   If we swung back to growth in September, as it appears, that we are talking about jobs starting to tick up in the Spring.

There will be no more stimulus.  The debt is high enough already, there is no reason to go back for more stimulus unless we are in a contraction again.

by RichardFlatts 2009-11-10 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Look at the economic numbers

"Home sales / values are increasing"

--This suggests otherwise: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091110/ap_o n_bi_ge/us_metro_home_prices;_ylt=AiMNPj I7aVkpuzW.VvMPGuN0fNdF

"home prices fell in eight out of every 10 U.S. cities in the third quarter of this year as heavily discounted distressed sales made up 30 percent of all deals."

Yes, home sales are increasing, values are not.  

"Jobs lag but if history is a guide..."

Can you provide us for a few examples?

by reggie44pride 2009-11-10 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Look at the economic numbers

Home prices are plateauing in many areas.  Home sales have to increase for a sustained period before home prices start to edge up.  

In SoCal, they're definitely stabilizing overall but some areas are still going down while a few are starting to go up.

All real estate, like much of politics, is local.

by InigoMontoya 2009-11-10 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP and the South

    It seems very odd to me that Democrats are ahead in the South, and are running within 2 points of their support in the Midwest and West. Democrats currently hold 45% of the seats from the 11 Confederate states.

    Do we know for sure that all pollsters define regions in the same way? Could it be that some of them are saying that Texas, or parts of it, are in other regions?

by Ron Thompson 2009-11-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP and the South

I don't know if this is significant enough to factor, but I know that here in North Carolina, for instance, there are some old people who are  registered Democrat and vote Republican in national elections.

Perhaps if polled however they would answer Democrat.

by RichardFlatts 2009-11-10 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The GOP and the South

Anecdotal, certainly, but I'm not feeling the love for Dems out here in Colorado.

Gov. Ritter is not particularly popular and with Penry out of the GOP race that leaves McInnis to go full wingnut.

Bennet was a dumbass choice to appoint to the senate to fill Salazar's seat and now a guy who has never run for anything will be primaried by a popular Dem (Romanoff)and if he survives that he will face Jane Norton who is a tough ol' broad who doesn't mince words. Take a look at her Issues page if you want a lesson in brevity and appealing to the base: http://janenortonforcolorado.com/issues

Got off on a tangent there, but honestly the GOP has plenty to bitch about these and as long as the folks are feeling angsty about jobs and the economy all that bitching by these candidates will resonate.

No matter how much we want to push the blame to the previous administration and no matter how true that may be, the fact is: come 2010 we own all this mess.

It was a good thing for Obama and Pelosi and Reid to seize the day to get HCR through, but it will come at a political cost and we should brace ourselves for that.

I just hope Reid and Pelosi are smart enough to safeguard the HCR bill so that WHEN our majorities are shrunk or lost the Republicans can't repeal or dismantle it.

What I do think will be a winning strategy for 2010 would be to HURRY THE FUCK AND SIGN HCR INTO LAW then get the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan then play up every single good economic point they can find. It is my understanding the stimulus is backloaded so hopefully by spring we'll start seeing some real improvements.

by JerryColorado23 2009-11-10 11:53AM | 0 recs

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