Daniel Larison offers the following commentary on this NPR opinion poll:
Put simply: when voters are considering the policy substance offered by the competing parties, the Republican position scarcely wins a majority of its own partisans and loses badly with everyone else. (Concerning Iraq - ed. note) (snip)
More striking, and also of interest to readers of TAC, is the difference among Republican respondents to positions on trade. When told that it was the Republican “free trade” position, Republicans agreed with it 63-33. Without partisan cues, Republicans agreed with a less “free trade”-oriented Democratic statement that included a call to renegotiate NAFTA 54-43. That’s a forty-one point swing that apparently hinges entirely on partisanship. All that cognitive dissonance has to give these people a headache. (snip) The Republicans have a policy problem.
So, when not conditioned to respond ritualistically to the invocation of GOP shibboleths, Republican respondents actually opposed the established GOP orthodoxy on trade, and approached an even split on the signature GOP policy of
eternal war fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them here.
While Ross Douthat
suggests, facetiously, that the GOP might have to elect a new American people in order to deal with this policy crisis, my take isn't quite so tongue-in-cheek. I think that these figures, if replicated, would set in sociological and political context the perverse opposition of GOP elites to the base on the matter of immigration, not to mention the slapping-down administered to the base this winter, when Huckabee captured the affections of the largest GOP contingent: they really might prefer to elect a new people
, though in the meantime they will attempt to bamboozle their voters with slick marketing and packaging, aka. agitprop
, to induce them to vote against their own interests. The GOP deserves an electoral bloodbath, just as the Democrats deserved one in the Seventies. And they may well get it. Or not. Perhaps the womb of illusion is preferable, for their average voters, to the coldness and harsh light of reality, which is that they have been played for suckers, in more ways than one.