Did the GOP Base Show Up in 2006?
I have heard from a number of sources that one of the reasons the GOP got so hammered in the 2006 midterm elections was because of a lack of turnout among the GOP “base.” A lot of conservatives would like to believe the answer to the GOP electoral woes is going to be a sharp turn to the right. I went looking for numbers which would prove the theory that a lack of turnout among hardcore conservatives caused the 2006 disaster either nationwide or in Minnesota
I came up empty.
Here’s what I could find, nationwide in 2004 approximately 38% of voters ID’d themselves as Democrats, 38% as Republicans and 25% called themselves “Independent.” In 2006 38% of voters called themselves Democrats, 35% called themselves Republicans and 27% were Independent.
One could suggest the difference in GOP party ID was caused by a decrease in voter turnout but there’s a simpler explanation: Young voters are increasingly liberal. Between 2002 and 2006 Democrats made an 6% gain on the GOP in the 18-29 year old demographic group. Most of the shift in the “younglings” category can be pinned down to opposition to the Iraq War. In fact, the Iraq war is the biggest reason for the GOP defeat in 2006.
We should also remember the 3% difference between the numbers could easily be within the margin of error of the two different surveys. At the national level the idea that the GOP base failed to turn out doesn’t explain the results of the election. What does explain the losses in 2006 was how the self described “independents” broke. In 2004 independents split 49-47 in favor of Democrats while in 2006 the Independents swung hard to the Democrats 57-39. That’s about 5% of the total vote that went to the Democrats in 2006 which belonged to the GOP in 2004.
Winning back the center appears to be the best strategy for a GOP revival in 2008, not a return to the base.
Let’s look at Minnesota:
In 2006 about 40% of voters described themselves as Democrats, 36% Republican and 24% were Independents. In 2004 38% of voters called themselves Democrats, 35% were Republican and 27% labeled themselves independents. In Minnesota we actually had a slight increase in the percentage of voters describing themselves as Republicans. Again the problem was the loss of the center of the political spectrum.
To increase the GOP chances for victory in 2008 the Republican Party is going to need to understand what happened in 2006. This means understanding the numbers and not creating fantasies about a magical “Party Base” which will magically appear to save the day in 2008. It’s not going to happen. I’m not suggesting abandoning conservatism, I’m advocating using tools like polls and learning political technology to help move public policy to the right.
Knowing is half the battle.
(I lost some of the links in the shuffle but I used numbers from CNN’s exit polls and I used some of the references from the wikipedia article on the 2006 elections)
This post from Lady Logician was what pushed me to write this piece. I don’t want to pick on her since she makes the same mistake so many in the blogosphere make, assertions without facts. I do suggest giving her blog a once over, it is excellent.
This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Kathy
Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie
41 years old from Ann-Arbor, Michigan
Specialist Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie is a Iraqi American U.S. Army linguist soldier, from Ann-Arbor, Michigan who was kidnapped on October 23, 2006 in Baghdad and has not been seen since.
al-Taayie joined the Army in 2004 to help not only his country, the United States, but also his birthplace of Iraq and was deployed in 2005. On October 23, 2006 he was visiting his wife in the Karrada Shiite neighborhood in central Baghdad when he and his cousin were kidnapped by a group calling themselves Ahel al-Beit Brigades. His cousin was released shortly after. On November 2, 2006 al-Taayie’s uncle received a ransom demand of $250,000 for his return. Along with the ransom came a grainy video that showed a man beaten up who was identified as al-Taayie. No more has been heard from al-Taayie or his captures.
For more information on Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie you can go here
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.
Wednesday Heroes are written by Indian Chris as part of a non-partisan effort to recognize the bravery of our men in uniform.
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The biggest star of the day, though: Mike Redmond, who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s and a huge double. No wonder the Twins want to keep Chris Heintz around when Joe Mauer comes off the DL — Redmond is going to be DH’ing a whole lot, I suspect.
Well, I looked up the numbers and a Mauer as Catcher Redmond as DH scenario would be not nearly as productive as the reverse:
Joe Mauer as DH (04-07): .365
Mauer as Catcher (04-07): .320
Mike Redmond as DH (04-07): .263
Redmond as Catcher (04-07): .302
Call me crazy but I see a very clear pattern here…