A Conservative Ascendency

There has been a lot made over a Washington Post/ABC News poll on party identification, showing a decline in those calling themselves Republican. The faults of the poll’s demographic metric aside, let us place this poll into context with the greater machinations that we’ve seen. But to do this properly, we have to consider this political environment with that of the last eight years.


We’ll start with 2002. The norm in mid-term elections is that the incumbent first-term President loses party seats, but in ’02- for the first time since 1934- the GOP made gains in both the House (229) and Senate (51). In ’04, not only did President Bush win reelection, but again his party made gains in the House (231) and Senate (55). All of this in the face of 9/11, the Iraq war, an economy still recovering from the tech bubble bursting and unprecedented 19.2% increase federal discrepancy expenditures.


Then came the Samarra Mosque bombing in Iraq and that conflict’s spiral into uncontrolled communal violence. This became the straw that broke the electoral back, with the electorate rebuking the Administrations mismanagement of the war and no longer turning a blind eye to the incumbencies failure at fiscal responsibility.


2006 saw a shift to the Dems in House (233) and Senate (51) leadership. The GOP continued to implode by putting forward a luke-warm candidate who had what will likely go down as the worst run presidential campaign in history. This, combined with Bush’s second-term 25.3% increase in federal discrepancy expenditures sealed the GOP’s fate in the presidential election as well as increased Dem control of the House (257) and Senate (59).


Seeing this, one might come to the conclusion that the country moved toward embracing the Dem party, but this ignores some key points identified in a couple of polls. In ’02, a national poll by Pew Research on party identification showed a break out of 34% Dem, 33% GOP and 32% Independent. Since the GOP made gains, it is obvious that the Independents went with the GOP. Again, the same thing happened in ’04- 35% Dem, 33% GOP and 32% Independent. In ’06, party identification was 35% Dem, 31% GOP and 34% Independent and in ’08 it was 36% Dem, 27% GOP and 37% Independent. These numbers show a migration from the GOP to the Independents and is reinforced by the aforementioned Washington Post/ABC News poll, which showed current party identification at 33% Dem, 20% GOP and 42% Independent. This is a dramatic change from what the poll recorded on election day in ’08 (35% Dem, 26% GOP and 30% Independent).


This brings us to the second poll by Gallup on political ideology. In 2002, the nation identified itself with conservatives (38%) and moderates (38%) over liberals (19%), and again in ’04 with conservatives (40%) and moderates (38%) versus liberals (19%). But in ’06 and ‘08, the nation identified its political ideology at conservative (37%) and moderate (38%) versus liberal (21%) and conservative (37%) and moderate (38%) versus liberal (22%), respectively. Essentially, the nation was fairly static in its political ideology, showing the nation as predominantly a center right nation. In the most recent poll, Gallup again identifies the nation as conservative (40%) and moderate (36%) versus liberal (20%).


So, what does all this mean? Well, it means several things, first of which is that don’t confuse Republicans with Conservatives. Conservatives vote with and for the GOP because the alternative- the Dems- is simply not acceptable. Independents decide elections, but they tend to call themselves conservatives or moderates. Secondly, liberals are clearly in the minority and are outnumbered 4 to 1 by conservatives and moderates.


Why is this important? Because this may be a bell weather to what we can expect in the 2010 mid-term elections. In a generic ballot, Gallup finds Dems with a slight lead over the GOP, 46% to 44%, but Rasmussen’s generic ballot poll shows the GOP leading Dems 42% to 38%.


An NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll finds that Congress has a 24% Approval rate with 65% Disapproving. 36% say the country is headed in the right direction, while 62% say its going in the wrong direction.


This same poll gives President Obama a 51% Approve, 42% Disapprove rating while a Gallup poll show’s Obama’s approval rating plummeting a record 9 points from inauguration to 53%. Rasmussen, which uses a Presidential Index comparing strongly approves to strongly disapproves, has shown Obama in negative territory since June with the current index at -11 (30% strongly approve to 41% strongly disapprove) and a general approval rating of 48% against 52% who disapprove.


On top of this, place into context the nation’s current mood on certain signature political issues. Rasmussen shows the nation trusts the GOP over Dems on ten key issues: Healthcare 46%/40%; Education 43/38; Social Security 45/37; Taxes 50/35; the Economy 49/35; Abortion 47/35; Immigration 40/33; National Security 54/31; Iraq 50/31; and Government Ethics 33/29. Gallup’s poll on Moral Issues shows a consistent shift to the right.


Here’s the bottom line, we’re seeing a conservative ascendency in this nation. The nation is becoming more conservative, not less, and this could potentially translate to huge gains for the GOP in 2010, provide they accept and embrace the founding principles of the party and the overall political ideology of the nation. The Dems recognize this, or at least White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel does, as this was part of the Dem strategy in ’06 to pull seats away from the GOP by running conservative or moderate dems in red districts. This was reinforced when Rahm criticized liberal groups who were targeting conservative Dems on healthcare.


But these conservative Dems are in dangerous waters now, as the White House and Congressional leadership, headed by radical liberals, force them to vote for bills that are increasingly running counter to the wishes of the American people. Dems can continue to ignore the writing on the wall, and more importantly the American people, but there is a growing ground swell of an anti-establishment movement in this country, and the figurative bulleye is on the incumbency.


17 thoughts on “A Conservative Ascendency

  1. Gorilla,

    That will depend on if the elections are fair. I have a feeling any election that fairly tight will go to the Dems. Just look what just happened in Minnesota. But you are right in the surge of conservatism.

    BTW I was referring to the OIC. Just google OIC and free speech. You will be amazed on whats going on.

  2. We’ll start with 2002. The norm in mid-term elections is that the incumbent first-term President loses party seats, but in ’02- for the first time since 1934- the GOP made gains in both the House (229) and Senate (51). In ’04, not only did President Bush win reelection, but again his party made gains in the House (231) and Senate (55). All of this in the face of 9/11, the Iraq war, …

    A couple of comments. First, I find your phrase “in spite of 9/11, the Iraq war” a curious one. As I recall, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 no one of any political persuasion was tough on Bush. As patriotic Americans usually do, we rallied behind our President in a time of crisis. I would argue this support of Bush in early war time, contributed to Republican success in 02 and even to some degree in 04.

    By 06, much of the country had tired of the war, and another large part were frankly bored by it, and more interested in our slowly deteriorating economic situation, resulting in the end of the love affair and the ouster of GOP in 06 and resoundingly in 08. What I’m saying somewhat long-windedly is I would not attribute the success of the GOP in the early oughts to a rise in conservatism so much as support for the party in charge during a time of crisis.

    My second observation is that Republicans currently need to take a page from Rahm Emanuel’s playbook. When far lefties fight with blue dogs, the result can be the demise of a solid Democratic block. The GOP is learning that lesson now the hard way. I am eagerly awaiting the results of next week’s NY-23 election to see if the interference of “conservatives” will lose Republicans control of this district for the first time in I think 100 years!

  3. R, my point was that conservatism has been consistent through the years.

    Secondly, I think you forget much of the back biting that was occurring by the ’02 elections as leftists tried to defend the Clinton administration and pin the fault of 9/11 on Bush.

    ’08 was a result of the GOP having RINOs. Our principles as a party are conservative and they are what the American people expect. McCain struggled because he isn’t a conservative and the party in general did not govern in a conservative manner, hence the abandenment of the party.

    What you on the left consistently miss is that Obama’s election wasn’t about Obama as much as it was against the incumbency. The only reason why he was able to garner independent support was because of his claims of change. That mirage is quickly disipating as the people see him as nothing more than more of the same at best, and the antithesis of American ideals at worst.

    Independents are leaving the President behind, and you’ll pay that price in 2010.

  4. Two very interesting points have come from this weekend.

    The first is that political ideology does trump political party. On Saturday- Halloween- the GOP candidate Scozzafava (who is quite liberal socially) got quite a fright from a Sienna Poll http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2009/10/siena-owens-and-hoffman-deadlo.html that found that she trailed the Conservative candidate (Hoffman) by 15 points. In that poll, Sienna found that Owens (Dems candidate) had a one point lead over Hoffman 36% to 35%.

    Yesterday, after Scozzafava not only withdrew from the race, but threw her backing behind the Dem candidate, PPP (Public Policy Polling) http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_NY23_1101424.pdf found that Conservative Hoffman had a 17 point lead over Dem Owens, 51% to 34%. The GOP should be learning a valuable lesson from this- hold primaries and listen to the people.

    Conservatives have voted in line with the GOP because there has not been a viable alternative. Hoffman has shown that when an alternative is available, they’ll take it. The GOP should learn from this- conservatives will win the day and will challenge the parties lack of discipline on those who don’t hold to the party’s principles.

    The second interesting point is that Obama’s hallo doesn’t extend very far. The White House has made a major push over the last week on the two Governor races in Virginia and New Jersey. The Administration quickly abandoned the Virginia race pretty, blaming the numbers on the Dem candidates poorly run campaign. With that, Obama focused almost exclusively on the New Jersey race. Polls http://www.njbiz.com/article.asp?aID=79658 showed, prior to Obama stumping, Dem incumbent Corzine with a one point lead over GOP challenger Cristie, 40% to 39%. The race is now polling http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_NJ_1101513.pdf Christie with a 6 point lead over Corzine, 47% to 41%.

    Daggett, a third party challenger who was thought to hurt Christie looks now to be more of a hindrance to Corzine.

    With Obama stumping so hard for the New Jersey race, one might think that his “rock star status” would help Corzine, but its not. The people either don’t care about Obama’s thoughts on this, or are holding Obama’s support against Corzine. Either way, this has to be quite the embarrassment for the Administration.

    Tomorrow doesn’t look good for the Dems and especially for Obama. Just one year later after the coronation of Obama, what do we see? A sounding defeat for Dem candidates and plummeting approval numbers for Obama do not bode well and this special electoral season very well could be a bell weather for 2010.

  5. “The people either don’t care about Obama’s thoughts on this, or are holding Obama’s support against Corzine.” — Gorilla

    I think you’ve overlooked the third alternative that Corzine is such an unpopular incumbent that even Obama’s endorsement cannot help him. I know it’s wishful thinking on your part that O has completely lost his mojo but I wouldn’t count my chickens just yet. 😉

  6. Considering how much Obama is throwing in with Corzine, you’d think something would help. Sorry R, but while Corzine is bad, Obama certainly isn’t good.

  7. We have seen a couple interesting points from the New Jersey and Virginia elections.

    One is the non-factor of Obama. In Virginia, 24% voted in opposition to Obama, while 17% voted in support, however, 56% said Obama had no factor in their vote. Likewise in New Jersey, votes in support and opposition to Obama were both at 19%, with 60% stating that Obama played no factor in their vote.

    For Virginia, this shouldn’t be too surprising, however, in New Jersey, where the White House threw and enormous amount of resources and time, it should be very telling, particularly in a deep blue state like New Jersey. The fact that Obama’s efforts did little to nothing for the incumbent indicate that Obama’s popularity (not to be confused with his approvals) is not transferable. This could be a problem for Dems in 2010.

    Secondly, 12% of the Virginia voters who voted for Obama in ’08, voted for the GOP candidate (McDonnell) in ’09. In New Jersey, 30% of independents voted for Corzine (D) while 60% voted for the GOP’s Cristie. This could prove to be far more troublesome for the Administration, as it is becoming far more apparent that the White House is losing the support of independents.

    Exit polls show that for both New Jersey and Virginia, the economy was the top issue for voters, 32% and 47% respectively. Taxes were also important issues, coming in second ion NJ at 26% and third in Virginia at 15%. Likewise, healthcare was important, though it is unclear whether this was in favor or opposition to the Dem plan.

    The point is that the pocket book will rule the day in 2010, and it is not looking good for Dems. Increasing unemployment and higher taxes will not bode well, and the economic forecast does not look to be improving significantly any time soon.

    As much as the Administration would like to say that this isn’t about them, it is. It is their economic policies that are failing to improve the economy and it is their fiscal policies that are quadrupling the national debt and raising taxes for every American. Yesterday will likely be a bell weather for 2010.

  8. Lessons from the 2009 election results
    By: Michael Barone
    Senior Political Analyst
    11/04/09 3:08 AM EST
    My Wednesday Examiner column, written as the 2009 election returns were coming in, stands up pretty well. But let me add some observations written as the course of the elections became clearer.

    First, in the governor elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the Democratic candidate ran far behind Barack Obama’s percentages in 2008 and the Republican candidates ran ahead of George W. Bush’s percentages in 2004. The numbers are pretty daunting. In Virginia Creigh Deeds won 41% of the votes, way behind Barack Obama’s 53% in 2008. And in New Jersey Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine won 45% of the votes, way behind Obama’s 57% in 2008.

    In contrast, the Republican candidates won higher percentages than Bush won in the recent high-water mark of the Republican party in 2004. Republican Bob McDonnell won 59% in Virginia, well ahead of Bush’s 54%. And Republican Chris Christie won 49%, ahead of Bush’s 46%. On the basis of these numbers you could say—in races where the issues were reasonably congruent though not identical to national issues—that Democrats were performing far below their recent optimal levels and Republicans were performing well above them.

    Second, and here I want to credit for this observations longtime Democratic pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell, affluent suburban voters moved sharply toward Republicans in 2009.

    Bergen County, New Jersey, a 56%-42% Corzine constituency in 2005, came within a point or two of voting for Christie, and in Virginia McDonnell carried 51%-49% Fairfax County—Republican for years but recently in cultural issues and with an increasing immigrant population Democratic (60%-39% Obama in 2008). I

    n addition, Westchester County, New York, voted 58%-42% for a Republican county execctive after voting almost exactly the opposite way, in a race involving the same two candidates, four years before . The Philadelphia suburban counties, increasingly Democratic in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, voted Republican in a partisan race for the Supreme Court in 2009.

    From the 1996 election up through and including 2008., affluent counties in the East, Midwest and West have trended Democratic, largely through distaste for the religious and cultural conservatives whom voters there have seen (not without reason) as dominant in the Republican party. Now, with the specter of higher tax rates and a vastly expanded public sector, they may be—possibly—headed in the other direction. An interesting trend to watch.

    Finally, third, what will be the impact of these elections on forthcoming votes in Congress on the Democratic leaddership’s controversial and unpopular health legislation. The Virginia Board of Elections give us some hints when it aggregates the results by congressional district. In the 2008 elections three Democrats captured three previously Republican congressional districts in Virginia, giving Democrats six or the eleven-member delegation.

    The results of the gubernatorial election show that at least some of these Democrats are imperiled.

    In the 2nd congressional district, where Democrat Glenn Nye beat Republican incumbent Thelma Drake 52%-47%, McDonnell beat Deeds 62%-38%. In the 5th congressional district, where Democrat Tom Perriello beat Republican incumbent Virgil Goode 50.01%-49.85%, or a margin of 727 popular votes, the lowest in the country, McDonnell beat Deeds 61%-39%. In the 11th congressional district, where Democrat Gerry Connally won 55%-43% a district vacated by Republican incumbent Tom Davis, McDonnell beat Deeds 55%-45%. And the southwest, coal-producing “Fighting Ninth,” represented since 1982 by Democrat Rick Boucher, voted 67%-33% for McDonnell.

    I cannot imagine that Congressmen Nye, Perriello, Connally and Boucher have not already accessed the websites which have shown the position of their constituents in a contest which, while like all governorship contests has its own specific features, was also in its contrast on issue positions reasonably congruent with those prevailing on national issues. And I can certainly respond with sympathy if any or all of these incumbents responded to these numbers with a two-word comment of which I will relay only the first word which is, “Oh.”

    The 2009 election results are certainly not going to make it easy for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to round up the needed 218 votes for Democrats’ health care bills.


  9. “…Independents turned sharply against George W. Bush in 2005. They believed the war in Iraq had been a mistake and their post-9/11 confidence in Bush’s leadership was undermined when the government seemed unprepared for Hurricane Katrina. That confidence dissipated entirely as the economy soured and the budget deficit soared. Republicans paid a steep price for these misgivings, as 57 percent of independents voted Democratic during the 2006 midterm elections.

    But these voters were not embracing the Democratic Party as a whole or endorsing liberal policies across the board. They were simply firing the Republicans and sticking it to George W. Bush. They remained angry at the system, at the direction of the country, and at the state of the economy. Yesterday’s election results flow directly from the Democrats’ failure to understand these facts… ”


  10. Morning Bell: The State of Conservatism is Strong

    Posted By Rory Cooper On November 4, 2009 @ 9:21 am In Ongoing Priorities | 30 Comments

    Last night, elections were held in several states across the nation, and by most independent observations [1], the results served as a warning to liberals. Whether it was Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey or even in typical liberal bastions like Westchester County [2], New York, the post-analysis was framed on what does this mean on Capitol Hill, and more importantly, what does this mean for the conservative movement. However, last night did not represent a new day for conservatives. On Monday, the same could have been said: the state of conservatism is strong.

    The state of conservatism can be measured through its popularity, its policies and its people. Most observers would say Election Day 2008 was not a good day for conservatives. However, putting election results aside, President Obama campaigned as a centrist. Obama promised to address jobs, the economy, our national security and even hold teachers accountable for our children’s education. Obama promised that most of America would receive a tax cut [3]. He promised to win a “necessary [4]” war in Afghanistan. These are conservative principles.

    While many Americans knew he would skew left on health care, the environment and diplomacy, they also took him at his word on his conservative window dressing. Matching reality to rhetoric, President Obama has made Jimmy Carter look conservative, promoting job killing policy after job killing policy. He has taken over nine months and counting to make a basic strategic decision on troop levels in Afghanistan, endangering our troops and our mission. This reality versus rhetoric is reminding the nation that conservatism is not merely a talking point but a first principle.

    The Pew Research Center released a poll in May 2009 [5] that was conducted in March and April when President Obama was still hugely popular. The poll showed that the overwhelming trend is toward conservatism, and not merely among Republicans. The number of Independents calling themselves conservative was increasing to 33%, up from 26% in 2005. The number of Democrats calling themselves conservative was up to 8%. In this poll 37% described themselves as politically conservative; almost double the number identifying as liberal (19%). The values of these respondents demonstrated an increasing trend away from big government as the solution and towards local and community based approaches.

    These results were in line with a Gallup poll in June [6] that showed Conservatives were the single largest ideological group (40%) and more recently on October 26, when Gallup showed [7] that Conservatives maintain a two to one advantage over liberals (40%-20%). Conservatism wasn’t grounded in any one party or candidate. It was election neutral. In fact it was the only tri-partisan issue or philosophy overwhelming numbers of Americans seemed to agree on. The state of conservative popularity is strong.

    This overwhelming conservative philosophy in America is the reason why failed liberal policies of the past are failing once again in 2009. President Obama promised jobs, but quickly learned that he can’t create 7 million jobs in government alone, although he tried. As of now, President Obama is 7.6 million jobs short of his promise [8] to the American people, and that number is unfortunately growing. Obama’s response has been to support and liberal Cap and Trade bill that would kill millions of jobs [9]. Obama signed a stimulus that not only hasn’t created jobs, but actually slowed down economic activity [9]. Obama supports a health care plan that imposes mandates on employers to help fund it. Employer mandates would put 5.2 million low wage workers at risk of unemployment [9], and put another 10.2 million at risk of lower wages or reduced benefits.

    Conservatives have been offering alternatives throughout. Conservatives support a health care plan [10] that eliminates imaginary barriers from true competition by allowing insurance to compete across state lines, by allowing consumers to take their insurance from job to job, by giving them the same tax breaks the federal government gives big corporations. Conservatives understand that states are the best incubators for this reform. Conservatives have argued for reforming Medicare and other entitlements rather than growing their membership while cutting their benefits. Conservatives have proposed real energy solutions for America that include zero-emissions nuclear energy. Conservatives have proposed job creation through small business incentives and tax cuts [11]. Conservatives have argued for a strong missile defense [12], rather than a raw deal for our eastern European allies, and a strong national security strategy that supports our troops and America’s leadership around the world. The state of conservative policies is strong.

    And Conservatives have been seen and heard in 2009. They went to tea parties in April [13], town hall meetings in August [14], and to the U.S. Capitol in September [15]. Pictures of multi-generational families spending the day together protesting big government expansion, increasing debt and deficits, and an apologetic footing by our President on the world stage. Conservatives have been re-energized to participate in the public policy process demanding transparency, dividing up 2,000 page bills among their friends and reading them, and pointing out where government has gone too far. The White House spent September 12 [16] denying hundreds of thousands [17] of conservatives were in their backyard. And last night, the White House promised again that they were paying no attention to the voices of the people. But conservatives are not universally being ignored, especially on Capitol Hill where conservative Republicans, Democrats and Independents are demanding bills be modified to represent the will of the people. The state of conservative people is strong.

    Conservatives have a destiny. Conservatives can strengthen our economic and national security. Conservatives can offer real solutions to the nation’s challenges, without robbing Peter to pay Paul. Conservatives can continue to learn about the issues that affect their families, their communities, their businesses, and with this knowledge, they can affect real change. The Heritage Foundation has never been stronger, with over a half million members and growing [18]. We thank you, and we invite those still waiting, to sign up to become a member now [19]. Your conservative destiny starts here [20].


  11. Ohh and you can use this next time you pop on Dodger’s blog. You can say its from me if you want. I would do it myself but Dodger didnt like his own medicine and like a good lib, banned me 🙂

    Flashback To 2006: Obama Says KSM Will Get ‘Full Military Trial’ While Debating Military Commissions Act of 2006


  12. No problem. Your welcome here, though I’d ask that you keep the links pithy to the thread. If there is something your interested to post on that I don’t have a thread for, let me know and I’ll create it.

  13. I think, barring ACORN stuffing the ballot boxes, the GOP can clean house if sticking to conservative principles.

    A free for all thread would be great.

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