Policy Starts With “P” and That Rhymes With “T” and That Stands for Trouble Right There in Dem City

The semi-secret Democracy Corps poll, about which I have already blogged here and here, is chock full of interesting data, and today I’m going to analyze the shift in their party issue handling numbers.  Our friends over at Democracy Corps beg to differ with my analysis thus far, and so have written a response piece on their blog.

To quickly rehash, their survey was done of 1,500 voters — segmented into three groups of 500 (why do Dems have more money for this stuff than our side?!) — 20 Tier 1 Dem seats, 20 Tier 2 Dem seats, and 20 targeted GOP seats.  In general, there isn’t much difference between the Tier 1 and the Tier 2 data (although there is on some questions), so I’m just lumping them together into the 40 Dem seats (1,000 interviews).

I beg to differ with their differs (if there is such a word), and will write a response response post on Friday.  The Greenberg team’s analysis is worth reading, because it provides a window into the thinking of one of the most influential Dem polling firms in the country.

But, between now and Friday I want to finish posting my thoughts on their survey.  Today we’ll go through the party issue handling section.  The folks at Democracy Corps make the case that by using the movement from a similar survey in April that I’m unfairly, and now to quote their response:

using an artificial base point – citing our April survey – well within Obama’s honeymoon, inflating the sense of movement.

Of course, that is not the perspective they had in April when they released that survey.  Back then, there were no caveats about inflated numbers for Dems because of the Obama honeymoon (which many Dems, not necessarily the Greenberg folks, believed would last until Obama went to heaven to sit at the right hand of God).  Besides, it has been a long time (2004 to be exact) since GOPers had numbers like this to get excited about.

Let’s take Democracy Corps newly-found argument to have merit, however, and leave the April data out of this analysis on party issue handling.  The data still points to problems for the Dems.  Problems that they haven’t had in quite some time.

When they asked voters in the key 40 Dem districts which party they thought would do a better job on the issue, the GOP did well on issues which in recent years we had fumbled away, and the Democratics (isn’t that what they always want to be called?) could do no better than tied on issues that the Dems usually do well on.

Let’s look at the issues.  On the historically GOP issues of taxes, the budget deficit, and government spending, the GOP has a nine to ten point lead in the target Dem districts.  In the target GOP districts, the GOP  has a four to 13 point advantage.

On the historically Dem issues of health care and Medicare, the Dem advantage in the Dem target districts is one and three points respectively — within the margin of error.  In the GOP target districts, the GOP has a one point advantage on health care, and a more typical eleven point deficit on Medicare.

And, on the current big kahuna issue — the economy, GOPers have a four point lead in Dem districts and a one point lead in the GOP districts.  The economy has recently been the province of the Dems.



Even though I said I wasn’t going to mention the April data (on page 10), the amount of movement since then is striking (see it for yourself).

After getting our clocks cleaned on issues for the last two election cycles, it’s very encouraging to once again control GOP issues and also be competitive on traditionally-Democratic issues.  While national surveys of adults might not show quite the same level of a GOP rebound starting, the Democracy Corps survey is more meaningful to political analysts like myself because the poll is focused on the most important congressional districts going into the 2010 elections.

Republicans would have to agree — the findings in this survey is the change we need.

Public Opinion Strategies