Despite months of Republican talk about rebranding the party to broaden its appeal, nearly half of all Americans say the GOP hasn’t changed much since it lost the 2012 presidential election.
According to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, 46 percent of respondents said “there has been no change” in the Republican Party’s views since the 2012 election.
Thirty-two percent of respondents said the GOP is “further from representing” their own views, twice as many as those who said the party has gotten closer to them (16 percent). Not surprisingly, Democrats were most likely to say the GOP has moved further away from their views, but a majority of independent voters (52 percent) said they had seen no changes in the GOP’s views since the last election.
In the months after the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee planned an “autopsy” of the party’s electoral failures. Part of the report’s goal was mechanical: President Obama’s win demonstrated that the Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote and targeting techniques had outstripped the GOP’s, and party leaders wanted to close the gap. But another goal was to lay the groundwork for a more inclusive Republican Party. Presidential nominee Mitt Romney essentially matched his party’s best-ever showing by a challenger among white voters, but it was not enough to win the White House, partly because Obama matched Democrats’ best-ever performance among Hispanic voters.
That prompted RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to say his party and its policies had to be “more sellable, more believable, more heartfelt to people” and that “we cannot be a party of just white people.” But more than nine months later, Republicans are still struggling to connect with two of their target groups — women and nonwhites.
According to the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, 14 percent of female poll respondents said the party had moved closer to them, but 33 percent said it had moved further and 46 percent said there had been no change. Nonwhites responded at almost exactly the same rates: 14 percent said the party had moved closer to them, 34 percent said it was further away and the biggest group, 48 percent, said there had not been a change.
A follow-up question further illuminated the push and pull that animates the GOP. Of the poll respondents who said the Republican Party had moved away from them this year, most (57 percent) said the GOP had gotten too conservative. But nearly two-thirds of the Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who said the party had moved away said it was no longer conservative enough.
Overall, that works out to 13 percent of registered Republicans saying the party as a whole is not conservative enough for them — a relatively small fraction, but also one that is highly motivated and often influential. (Virtually no incumbent Republican senators manage to run for reelection anymore without some sort of challenge from the right, while the number of competitive House primaries is on the rise, too.)
The poll, conducted Sept. 25-29, interviewed 1,005 adults over landline and cell phones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.
"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."
Memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday night "implemented sweeping changes to the way immigration policy is enforced, making clear that millions of people living illegally in the U.S. are now subject to deportation and pushing authorities to fast-track the removal of many of them. ... The policy calls for enlisting local authorities to enforce immigration law, jailing more people while they wait for their hearings and trying to send border crossers back to Mexico to await proceedings, even if they aren’t Mexican."