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Are “Republicans” Missing Their Marks?




By FITSNEWS  ||  This website keeps regular tabs on party identification trends – i.e. the percentage of the electorate classifying themselves as either “Republican,” Democrat or independent.  And yes, we put quotes around the word “Republican” because we believe the GOP is habitually hypocritical when it comes to the less government, more freedom rhetoric its politicians espouse (prior to cashing in on their betrayal to special interests).

Despite the lack of distinction between parties on the bread and butter, dollars and cents issues that should matter most to voters,  party identification remains a big deal from an electoral science standpoint.  Even as the number of self-identified “Republicans” and Democrats shrinks, these two voter pools serve as a starting point for answering the only two questions politicians and their advisors care about during a competitive election: 1) Where are the votes?  2) How do I get them?

You know, as opposed to their usual two questions: 1) Where is the money? 2) How do I spend it?

Anyway … there’s a wonderful new partisan identification study out this month from Norman Analytics and Research (prepared for the Market Research Foundation) that does a deep dive into the current partisan/ ideological composition of the U.S. electorate.

The Norman-MRF study – dubbed “Analysis of Party Self-Identification in America” – is a must-read for any 2014 campaign.  Not only is it chock full of data providing critical snapshots of where partisan and ideological leaners are on various issues matrices (economic, education/ health care and moral), but it offers some brilliant insights into the fissures and fault lines within each party.

Let’s start with the top line, though …

According to the Norman-MRF research, 45 percent of voters self-identified as independent – a number consistent with other polling.  By contrast, only 17 percent aligned with “Republicans” compared to 28 percent who aligned with Democrats.

Of course there is no real “Democratic edge” because – according to the researchers – “the country has a definite preference for conservative policies when it comes to the economy.”

“Two-thirds of America prefers non-liberal economic policies with 37 percent favoring conservative strategies,” the reports authors noted. “Nearly the same number of Americans prefer non-liberal policies on education and healthcare.”

In other words the ideological landscape of the country favors the GOP – except on moral issues.  There, 36 percent of the country described itself as “liberal” compared to 23 percent who went with “moderate.”

That’s further confirmation of our belief that most Americans are looking for a party that will stay out of their pocketbooks and their personal lives – a choice they currently lack.

The Norman-MRF report further elucidates the fissures that could ultimately lead to the collapse of the two-party system (if we’re lucky).

“Self-Identified Democrats are more likely to support liberal economic policies, but even in this group very few unilaterally support specific liberal economic policies,” the study found.

Specifically, the report found that thirty-one percent of Democrats “defected” on the issue of government spending – while 21 percent broke from their party platform on immigration.  Meanwhile a full third of Republicans disagreed with their party’s stance on the issue of gay marriage.

Spotting a trend?  Here’s the key question, though:  Republicans are clearly already counting the tax dollars associated with their imminent takeover of the U.S. Senate, but have they counted the votes correctly?

The GOP is “misappropriating its GOTV efforts on folks who are going to vote no matter what,” one Washington, D.C. strategist told FITS – pointing to the section of the Norman-MRF report dealing with voter turnout.

“Republican campaigns that engage in aggressive turnout efforts while simultaneously highlighting liberal economic stances of their opponents are very likely to be successful,” the report’s authors noted.

But there’s a caveat …

Given the GOP’s toxicity to many social liberals – and to some fiscal conservatives as well – winning GOP campaigns shouldn’t necessarily embrace the “Republican” brand.  Instead, the study’s authors argued they should target turnout efforts to “support individual candidates rather than the Republican Party or its entire platform.”

To read the report in its entirety, CLICK HERE …