The GOP Sag
Thursday, April 27, 2006 :::
There are few bright spots for the GOP in this nationwide poll. But one of the brightest is that, for as poorly as folks seem to regard Republicans, the Democrats aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard, either, even though they hold some key advantages:
Continuing a trend that has persisted for a year, Democrats lead -- beyond the poll's 3.1 percentage point margin of error -- in public preference for which party should control Congress. The survey of 1,005 adults was conducted April 21-24.
And in the run-up to November, Democrats also enjoy an edge in intensity; by 11 percentage points, their partisans are more likely to express high interest in the midterm campaigns. The biggest bright spot for Republicans is that Democrats have made no progress improving their national image, an indication that they aren't yet positioned to take advantage of their opportunity for far-reaching November gains.
But what is far more interesting are the opportunities the poll discovers for possible action:
In particular, Americans who don't approve of Congress blame their sour mood on partisan contention and gridlock in Washington. Some 44% call themselves "tired of Republicans and Democrats fighting each other"; 36% say "nothing seems to get done" on important issues. A further 34% cite corruption among lawmakers. Among all Americans, a 39% plurality say the single most important thing for Congress to accomplish this year is curtailing budgetary "earmarks" benefiting only certain constituents.
Ranking just behind ending "earmarks" is congressional action on immigration overhaul, the top priority of 32%. By 61%-35%, Americans say illegal immigrants within the U.S. should be allowed to stay rather than be deported so long as they pay taxes and pass security checks. By 68%-28%, they express support for a potential Senate compromise that would allow for different treatment of those who have been in the U.S. at least five years, those here for two to five years, and those in the U.S. for less than two years.
"Gridlock" and "partisanship" don't happen to bother me. And actually, the notion of gridlock -- when the GOP controls Congress and the White House, is odd.
But the rise of public distate for earmarks is somewhat revolutionary. If, finally, folks are willing to turn their backs on pork, then Congress and the GOP in particular, should respond. Of course, it make be the other guy's pork they dislike more than their own. And of course, Congress will probably never kick the habit. But there's still hope, right? Nah.
The immigration numbers are interesting as well. The public seems to want action - but in moderation. This will displease some, but I think it's about right.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/27/2006