Some Q-Tips For A Clogged Political Party

One of the most interesting public polls I’ve seen this year was released last week by Quinnipiac University. The questionnaire went into detail on a number of issues, and the release included in-depth crosstabs, including partisan breakouts.

I’ve often made the case that when Independents are closer to Republicans than to Democrats on an issue, than it’s a good issue for Republicans (and obviously the converse is true for Dems). Indies being closer to GOPers hasn’t happened on many issues in the past four years (with the exceptions of illegal immigration, which wasn’t a vote motivating issue compared to the economy/Iraq, and increased domestic drilling, which dropped off when the economy tanked and gas prices dropped).

The poll shows the GOP continues to face a host of challenges. However, the Q-Poll provides some tips for GOPers on issue opportunities (should we call them Q-Tips?). We’ve been counseling patience for the GOP – and it appears opportunities are opening up. Here’s some of the results for questions where the opinions of Independents are closer to the opinions of GOPers than to Dems:

President Obama promised to cut the national deficit in half by the end of his four-year term. Do you believe he will keep this promise?

Tot Rep Dem Ind

Yes 38% 12% 63% 31%

No 55 85 28 62

(Note that there is a 19 point gap between GOP yes/Ind yes, compared to a 32 point gap between Ind yes/Dem yes.)

President Obama said he understands public frustration with the government help for private banks. But he said more than the 700 billion dollars already approved would be needed to keep the banks lending and getting the economy moving again. Do you support or oppose spending more than the 700 billion dollars on helping banks?

Tot Rep Dem Ind

Support 28% 13% 45% 21%

Oppose 66 84 46 73

(The GOP/Ind gap is just 8 points, while the Ind/Dem gap is 24 points.)

Congress has passed President Obama’s economic stimulus package which includes tax cuts and new federal spending of about 800 billion dollars. Do you support or oppose this economic stimulus package?

Tot Rep Dem Ind

Support 55% 23% 84% 49%

Oppose 39 72 11 45

(The GOP/Ind gap is a broader 26 points, but the Ind/Dem gap is an even wider 35 points.)

Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama’s 75 billion dollar plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure?

Tot Rep Dem Ind

Approve 57% 31% 83% 48%

Disapprove 35 59 12 43

(The gap continues, but keep in mind this does have pretty solid majority support.)

Some people say that President Obama’s plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure isn’t fair to mortgage holders who make payments on time. Do you agree or disagree?

Tot Rep Dem Ind

Agree 64% 83% 48% 68%

Disagree 29 13 42 26

Anyhow, by now you get the picture – when analyzing issues for opportunities, look for cases where Independents are closer to the GOP than to the Dems. It’s clear that Independent voter doubts about spending and foreclosure issues are beginning to tip in a way that helps the GOP.

(It’s also clear that Obama’s numbers are buoyed by an incredible loyalty with his base. I think that if a pollster tested a question that read “President Obama’s plan for saving Medicare includes pushing four in ten of seniors off a cliff to save money,” 80% of Democrats would favor the plan.)

Public Opinion Strategies