How Many Republicans Are Out There?

Ken AshfordHealth Care, Republicans1 Comment

The answer may surprise you.

There's a lot of meat to this Washington Post-ABC News poll. The Washington Post leads with the most relevant to today's political debate: health care.

Specifically, people are warming up to the public option:

On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it. (In a June Post-ABC poll, support was 62 percent.)

If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it jumps to 76 percent. Under those circumstances, even a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, would be in favor of it, about double their level of support without such a limitation.

What demographic accounts for the change?  Independents and senior citizens.  Yup.  After a summer of falling for scare tactics (death panels, etc.), they finally listened long enough to hear the truth. 

But here's the part I want to draw your attention to:

Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983. Political independents continue to make up the largest group, at 42 percent of respondents; 33 percent call themselves Democrats.

That's right.  Despite its efforts at "rebranding", only 20% of the people identify themselves as Republican.  Remember, Ross Perot, when he ran for election, got 19% of the vote.  In other words, Republicans are becoming a fringe party.

The public isn't buying what Republicans are selling. President Obama's support isn't as strong as it was — though a 57% approval rating is pretty impressive at this point — but the GOP has failed to capitalize. To the contrary, the minority, instead of positioning itself as a serious, credible alternative, is moving backwards.

Full poll graphic below…