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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

DCorps: The Center Holds for Obama

There’s a new Democracy Corps poll out that focuses on the relative success or failure of recent Republican efforts to rough up President Obama. The rough-stuff is going over well with conservative Republicans, but not with much of anybody else:

[T]wo of the most high-profile debates in Washington could damage the GOP further by isolating the party from the vast middle of the electorate as Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court receives better than two-to-one backing, even after the initial onslaught of Republican attacks against the nominee, and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s popularity falls to an all-time low….
Cheney is a deeply divisive figure, popular only with the conservative base of the Republican Party but unpopular with everyone else, including independents (among whom he has net -26 favorability rating) and moderate Republicans. In fact, President Obama (+5) is more popular with moderate Republicans than Cheney (-9). Moreover, by a three-to-one margin (66 to 23 percent) likely voters reject Cheney’s recent statement that he would prefer to see Rush Limbaugh, rather than Colin Powell, set the direction of the GOP. Again, only conservative Republicans side with Cheney, while Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans all strongly prefer Powell….
Sotomayor’s nomination has created a similar dynamic. By a more than two-to-one margin (56 to 27 percent) likely voters approve of the nomination. This level of support is similar to that enjoyed by John Roberts, and exceeds those held by Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito, when they were nominated to the Court in 2005. More important, once again the base of the Republican Party finds itself at odds with the rest of the electorate. While conservative Republicans strongly disapprove of her nomination, Sotomayor earns at least plurality support from moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats.

If you look at the crosstabs for the poll, which break out moderate/conservative Democrats and moderate/liberal Republicans, the risk of self-isolation by conservative Republicans becomes even more apparent. Democrats are largely sticking together with Obama, and the more the GOP adopts attack-dog ideological and personal attacks on the President (and on “RINOs” like Colin Powell), the less Republicans stick together in opposition.

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