This was one of their questions in their recent poll of ten open-seats (details here): 44% of likely voters think that the Democratic party is too extreme, as opposed to 37% who think that the GOP is too extreme. According to this poll, in fact, 22% of Democrats think that their own party is too extreme (11% of Republicans think the same of their own party)… and the breakdown of independent voters is virtually identical (43/37) to that of likely voters.
It’s the one-in-five of Democrats that’s the most interesting: consider that the districts being surveyed are a pretty good mix of Red and Blue, but did not have much in the way of hyper-Blue urban areas. What they’re surveying here are the suburban and mildly urban areas, where people feel perfectly safe in openly having Republican friends and where a GOP bumper sticker won’t get your car keyed. And in those places Democratic… I believe that it’s called ‘branding’… is taking a bit of a a beating. Why? One argument is that it’s because ordinary, decent Democrats are noticing that their leadership is somewhat at odds with the regular party voter:
“It is a reflection that the faces of leadership of the Democrats in government are seen as very liberal faces: Reid, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [Calif.] and Obama,” [former GOP Congressman Vin Weber] said. “The leading faces of the Republican Party aren’t that well-known.”
Democratic Party strategists have tried to change that dynamic, working to raise the profile of House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who would be in line to replace Pelosi as Speaker in the event of a GOP victory in the House.
But that effort has shown limited success.
…And I have to push back on this. John Boehner, Radical Republican? Look, I have a healthy respect for the man’s ability to hold together the GOP House caucus in the 111th Congress on a number of what turned out to be absolutely critical votes. It was a gamble to enforce 100% opposition to the stimulus, and it was a gamble that got him and the rest of the House GOP leadership loudly derided and attacked at the time. And I have some faint hope that he gets that the forces that seem poised to make him the next Speaker of the House are going to be ‘vast, cool, and unsympathetic’ to any attempts to go back to Business As Usual*. So I’m not trying to be insulting when I say this: the only really outre thing about John Boehner is that he smokes in public. Compare that to Nancy Pelosi, who jammed a monstrosity of a health care bill down our throats, and then grinned at the choking screams.
And the Democrats wonder why the inhabitants of Earth aren’t buying what they’re selling this cycle.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Which means – among other things – that the earmark ban has to stay.