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Monday, November 12, 2012

More than demographics: GOP took a beating on the issues

Cage fighters

MSNBC’s First Read:

[A]ccording to the exit polls from last week’s presidential election, a combined 60% said that tax rates should increase either for everyone or for those making more than $250,000. Just 35% said the tax rates shouldn’t increase for anyone.

What’s more, 59% said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

And by a 49%-to-46% margin, voters said that their states should legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Even on comprehensive immigration reform — a subject that some Republicans (like George W. Bush) once supported, but most no longer do — 65% said most illegal immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for legal status. (And since the election, GOP senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain are now signaling renewed support for comprehensive immigration reform.)

“The one bright spot for Republicans on the issues: A majority of voters — 51% — indicated that the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and  the individuals. By comparison, 43% said government should do more to solve problems,” the report goes on. “That’s a reversal from 2008, when 51% said the government should do more and 43% said it is doing too much.”

That last stat is probably less solid for the GOP than it would appear. “Government does too much” is extremely vague. When you get down to specific issues and programs, things turn around pretty quickly. For example, when asked if government stop funding PBS, 55% of voters opposed the idea — in direct contrast to Romney’s call to privatize Sesame Street. In fact, the backlash over Romney’s position on public broadcasting demonstrates the danger of getting too specific about which programs you’d cut. And you can’t start cutting things without getting specific and pissing everyone off. Besides, 51% is the very weakest majority possible without breaking out the decimal point.

But the broader picture here is one that shows the GOP up against it from every perspective — they’re losing everyone other than older white men, at the same time that their positions on issues become more unpopular. And we won’t even get into the crazy “legitimate rape” theorizing, where opposition has to be off the charts.

The writing on the wall should be obvious even to the most ideologically blinded Republican: adapt or perish.

[image source]

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