Be of Good Cheer!

Three weeks ago, as you may remember, I argued that Mitt Romney would win a landslide on the first Tuesday in November. Two days later, when the prospective Republican nominee announced that Paul Ryan would be his running mate, I predicted that, in the process, he would not only win a mandate for entitlement reform. He would have coattails as well.

The fact that in the polls Romney and President Barack Obama have been running neck and neck would appear to belie my predictions, and there are those, such as Nate Silver at Pravda-on-the-Hudson who estimate the President’s chances for re-election at two to one.

If you still have faith in Pravda-on-the-Hudson or are for other reasons inclined to pessimism, you might want to look at Gallup’s latest party-favorability poll and then read Eric Zuesse’s analysis at the Huffington Post. Gallup has been doing this sort of polling now for twenty years. The latest of these polls shows that the American people do not much like either party but that for the first time since Gallup began doing this sort of polling they prefer the Republicans to the Democrats.

For the very first time, the favorable/unfavorable ratios are now higher for the Republican Party than for the Democratic Party. For the first time ever, the Democratic favorability ratio, which has always been within the range of 1.20 to 1.56, is now below 1. It is a stunningly low .83, which is 31% lower than the prior Democratic Party low of 1.20, which was reached in 2004.

By contrast, the Republican ratio is now .88, which compares with the 2008 ratio of .80, which was that Party’s lowest-ever ratio, reached at the end of the Bush Presidency. Prior to 2008, the ratio was 1.16 in 2004, 1.41 in 2000, 1.16 in 1996, and 1.36 in 1992.

Those figures compare with the Democratic ratios of 1.38 in 2008 (compared with the Republican .80), 1.20 in 2004 (vs. 1.16), 1.56 in 2000 (vs. 1.41), 1.50 in 1996 (vs. 1.16), and 1.42 in 1992 (vs. 1.36).

Under President Obama, there has been an unprecedentedly sharp and first-ever switch to preferring the Republican Party over the Democratic Party.

In fact, the damage that has been done to the Democratic brand under the Obama Presidency, going from a historically normal Democratic ratio of 1.38 in 2008, down 39% to the present .83, compares with the Republican fall-offs under George W. Bush’s Presidency, which declined from the Republican ratio of 1.41 in 2000, down 18% to 1.16 in 2004, and then down yet another 31% to .80 in 2008, when the Republican Party hit its all-time (back until 1992) pre-convention low – which virtually doomed the campaign of Presidential candidate John McCain and made Obama’s win almost inevitable.

The Democratic brand has thus suffered more (down 39%) under Obama than the Republican brand suffered under either of George W. Bush’s two terms (-16%, then -31%).

Though George W. Bush did major harm to the Republican brand, Barack Obama is out-doing him, hurting even steeper the Democratic brand, which historically (until now) has always been higher-valued than the Republican brand, not just in these pre-convention polls, but for decades in Party-allegiance.

What this means in practice, Zuesse suggests, is that the Republicans are more likely to win Congress than at any time since Gallup began doing this sort of polling. All that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have to do to capitalize on this opportunity is to present themselves as capable of governing and of having a serious plan aimed at turning things around. And that is, of course, precisely what they are doing.

In the meantime, there are polls suggesting that  the Republicans will pick up Senate seats in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. On the first Tuesday in November, you should be watching these and the other Senate races – for if the Republicans strike gold in the upper Midwest there will be lots of pickups elsewhere as well. The 2012 election will confirm what happened in 2010; and, if the Republicans subsequently show that they really can turn the country around, there will be a realignment.

For conservatives and for the Republican Party, Barack Obama is the gift that keeps on giving. He is for us what Herbert Hoover once was for the Democratic Party.

  1. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    For the record, I had surgery yesterday ca. 10 a.m., and I feel fine. A bit sore where the incisions were made but otherwise fine.

    Barring the unexpected, I will go home tomorrow. In a week or so, I will know whether the stent really drains the pertinent cavity. If it does, hallelujah!

    If not, . . .

  2. ConservativeWanderer

    Now, now, now, Professor, you know that the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity will declare that you can’t possibly be right, and that we’ll lose because we didn’t nominate their favorite candidate.

    So, I’d encourage you to be of good cheer, as well.

    Besides, a good attitude speeds healing.

  3. ctruppi

    Godspeed Dr Rahe, we need your voice in this fight!

  4. Astonishing

    Wanderer, do you suppose trying to antagonize us Nabobs will improve our opinions of Mitt? If so, you should cite someone other than the despicable Spiro, who illustrates my points that sometimes losing is better than winning and what matters most is, if you do win, what you do afterwards. How much better things would have been, both for the country and for the GOP, if Humphry had defeated Nixon in 1968!

  5. ConservativeWanderer
    Astonishing: Wanderer, do you suppose trying to antagonize us Nabobs will improve our opinions of Mitt? If so, you should cite someone other than the despicable Spiro, who illustrates my points that sometimes losing is better than winning and what matters most is, if you do win, what you do afterwards. How much better things would have been, both for the country and for the GOP, if Humphry had defeated Nixon in 1968! · 0 minutes ago

    Gee, did I mention any specific Ricocheteers by name?

    I didn’t think I did…

  6. Keith Rice

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    It turns out that polling on homosexual issues tends to incorrectly skew to support because people have been so browbeat on these causes that a small percentage won’t even anonymously state their true opinion.

    I suspect the same is true for Obama.

    At a recent convention dinner the subject of our President came up and I boldly stated “Thank goodness he’s done soon.” The woman I’d  just met and had a great conversation with gave me a look of shock and derision as if saying “What could possibly be so horribly wrong with you?”

    After defending myself, and declaring my own terse contribution to the Romney campaign (a slogan: If you like BS you’ll love BO”) another fellow laughed and sheepishly admitted his support for Romney as well.

    This happened in California, so you know there’s a strong Leftward inclination, but the pressure to think alike in Leftist areas can be very intimidating to independents or Republicans.

    My own guess is that the poll numbers (in an otherwise properly conducted poll) are incorrectly skewed to Obama by 3-4%, putting Romney ahead beyond the margin of error.

  7. Astonishing

    No, Wanderer, your incitement, just like that of the criminal you quoted, was both imprecise and misdirected.

  8. ConservativeWanderer
    Highlama: At a recent convention dinner the subject of our President came up and I boldly stated “Thank goodness he’s done soon.” The woman I’d  just met and had a great conversation with gave me a look of shock and derision as if saying “What could possibly be so horribly wrong with you?” · 6 minutes ago

    I admire your cojones. :)

  9. DocJay

    Heal baby heal!  You are correct, Romney will win.

  10. Brian Clendinen

    “In the meantime, there are polls suggesting that  the Republicans will pick up Senate seats in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.”

     

    Yes but lose a seat in Maine not that it will make a huge diffrence but comittee chairmenships matter if that one loss results  in 51 Ind/Dem senators.

     

    Rep have to pick up a a net 4 seats to have 51 votes. That means we need to win 4 of the 6 toss-up races. That is why everyone is so upset with Akin at what could of easly been a pick-up turned into a safe Dem seat per the polling and might cause Rep to loss the Sentate therefore repeal of Obamacare.

  11. ConservativeWanderer
    Brian Clendinen

    Rep have to pick up a a net 4 seats to have 51 votes. That means we need to win 4 of the 6 toss-up races. That is why everyone is so upset with Akin at what could of easly been a pick-up turned into a safe Dem seat per the polling and might cause Rep to loss the Sentate therefore repeal of Obamacare. · 0 minutes ago

    Nail. Head.

  12. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    The only polls that are anywhere near accurate are those that are not skewed in the direction of the Democrats. Not long ago, Gallup found that there were now as many self-identified Republicans as there were self-identified Democrats. My guess is that, by the time of the election, self-identified Republicans will outnumber self-identified Democrats. That is what the party-favorability evidence suggests.

  13. Keith Rice
    Brian Clendinen

    “That is why everyone is so upset with Akin at what could of easly been a pick-up turned into a safe Dem seat per the polling and might cause Rep to loss the Sentate therefore repeal of Obamacare.

    I don’t know about that, with Obama out of office  the Republicans might pick-up some Dem support for repeal.

  14. ConservativeWanderer
    Paul A. Rahe: The only polls that are anywhere near accurate are those that are not skewed in the direction of the Democrats. Not long ago, Gallup found that there were now as many self-identified Republicans as there were self-identified Democrats. My guess is that, by the time of the election, self-identified Republicans will outnumber self-identified Democrats. That is what the party-favorability evidence suggests. · 0 minutes ago

    That brings up a question, Professor… could, as Highlama suggests above, people be fibbing to the pollsters about their party identification? It seems likely to me, but I’d like your opinion.

  15. Fredösphere

    I’m not as optimistic about Michigan as you are. Nate Silver talks in detail about why he doesn’t trust the most GOP-friendly polls in that state. I’d love to hear more on this topic; if Michigan goes GOP, then truly the tide has turned–dare I say it, this will be the year that “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    I think we all should take Silver a little more seriously. He always has reasons for his conclusions, and–whatever else others do to misuse what he says–he’s fairly up-front about the limitations of his work. (For example, he has no control over the data he analyzes, plus any averaging of polls is going to be a lagging indicator when opinion is shifting.)

  16. George Savage
    C

    It looks like President Obama should have broadened Card Check to include federal elections while he had the chance.

  17. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    ConservativeWanderer

    Paul A. Rahe: The only polls that are anywhere near accurate are those that are not skewed in the direction of the Democrats. Not long ago, Gallup found that there were now as many self-identified Republicans as there were self-identified Democrats. My guess is that, by the time of the election, self-identified Republicans will outnumber self-identified Democrats. That is what the party-favorability evidence suggests. · 0 minutes ago

    That brings up a question, Professor… could, as Highlama suggests above, people be fibbing to the pollsters about their party identification? It seems likely to me, but I’d like your opinion. · 48 minutes ago

    Yes, indeed. Some may not be willing to admit that they are really Republicans. Keep in mind the fact that Ronald Reagan habitually beat the polls by 5%.

  18. Devereaux

    I expect Mr. Rahe is right.

    There is NO ONE who voted for McCain who will vote for Obama this time around – none.

    So you have to look at Obama’s support groups to see how those will shake out. And everywhere you look, he has lost support. Not total, but enough to make a difference. Check out youth, blacks, hispanics, women – all are less for him than in 08. He didn’t win by much then, and loss of core support could doom him.

    The talking heads all pontificate about this poll and that poll. But look at the country. It’s not happy! And that usually means change.

  19. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Fredösphere: I’m not as optimistic about Michigan as you are. Nate Silver talks in detail about why he doesn’t trust the most GOP-friendly polls in that state. I’d love to hear more on this topic; if Michigan goes GOP, then truly the tide has turned–dare I say it, this will be the year that “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    I think we all should take Silver a little more seriously. He always has reasons for his conclusions, and–whatever else others do to misuse what he says–he’s fairly up-front about the limitations of his work. (For example, he has no control over the data he analyzes, plus any averaging of polls is going to be a lagging indicator when opinion is shifting.) · 19 minutes ago

    In 2010, the Republicans won a landslide in Michigan, elected a Governor, and took control of both state houses. Between 2000 and 2010, the state lost 10% of its population. Detroit, once the fourth largest city in the US, is now the second . largest city in Michigan. This is not the state you remember from the past.

  20. wmartin
    Devereaux:

     Check out youth, blacks, hispanics, women – all arelessfor him than in 08. He didn’t win by much then, and loss of core support could doom him.

    Obama won by almost 7 points, a near landslide. He still has a very strong base, as the fact that he still has an approval rating around 47 % and continues to poll slightly ahead of Romney.

    I like this news from Gallup though, and think the polls may finally be starting to move a little bit. I have been waiting for the preference cascade for two years now, and it may now come.

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