The new national survey done for NPR by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research is chock full of interesting data, including some good news for the GOP, as well as continued caution. I will be writing a new post per day this week on the NPR survey.

The best news is the generic ballot. The continued caution revolves around the Dems advantage on issues.

The generic ballot in this survey is tied at 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem. This tie is despite Dem advantages on the issue contrasts, as well as a six point party ID advantage. The reason for the tie is simple – Independents are moving toward the GOP.

By party, the generic breaks down well for us – leading 85{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-3{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} among GOPers, and trailing 7{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-83{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} among Dems. Given that there are more Dems in the country, the reason the generic is tied is because the GOPer leads 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} among Independents. That is not an advantage that will be easily held, but it is the first time since 2004 in which I’ve seen a national survey showing us up among Independents on the generic ballot.

My analysis? This is evidence that voters – particularly Independents – are worried that they over-corrected in the 2006/2008 elections combined, and now have more of a liberal slant to government than they want. They want change, but with checks and balances.

On the issues section of the interview schedule, the Dem wins all of the issue contrasts by six-eleven points. However, the GOPer wins among Independents by a handful of points on each.

These results are striking for several reasons

  1. It underscores Democrat unity that exists right now.
  2. It shows that we still aren’t trusted on issues, despite the softening of public opinion toward the Dems.
  3. It shows GOPers CAN make gains with Independents.

For four years, GOPers were in the wilderness with Independents. We can’t win in 2009 and 2010 without doing well among that group.

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(This analysis does not reflect the analysis and opinions of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research or of NPR.)

Public Opinion Strategies