Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted a study [PDF] analyzing Republican base voters and comparing them to independent swing voters. Guess what they found:
One, Republicans are paranoid near-conspiracy-theorists:
First and foremost, these conservative Republican voters believe Obama is deliberately and ruthlessly advancing a ‘secret agenda’ to bankrupt our country and dramatically expand government control over all aspects of our daily lives. They view this effort in sweeping terms, and cast a successful Obama presidency as the destruction of the United States as it was conceived by our founders and developed over the past 200 years.
They readily identify themselves as a minority in this country – a minority whose values are mocked and attacked by a liberal media and class of elites. They also believe they possess a level of knowledge and understanding when it comes to politics and current events, one gained from a rejection of the mainstream media and an embrace of conservative media and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which sets them apart even more. Further, they believe this position leaves them with a responsibility to spread the word, to educate those who do not share their insights, and to take back the country that they love. Their faith in this country and its ideals leave them confident that their numbers will grow, and that they will ultimately defeat Barack Obama and the shadowy forces driving his hidden agenda.
And two, Republicans are pretty far outside the mainstream:
Looking at the current political debate, it was evident in our focus group discussions that the divide between conservative Republicans and even the most conservative-leaning independents remains very, very wide. Independents like those in our suburban Cleveland groups harbor doubts about Obama’s health care reform but are desperate to see some version of health care reform pass this year; the conservative Republicans view any health care reform as a victory for Obama and are militantly opposed. Asked about the issues of greatest importance to them in choosing a candidate for Congress, health care ranked sixth among the Republicans, below issues such as tax cuts, immigration, and a candidate’s personal values and faith; but for the independents, health care was number one.
The independent voters in our groups clearly viewed these issues very, very differently. They share the conservative Republicans’ disdain for the current Republican Party, but their critique is not that the party has abandoned its conservative principles but instead that it advances the interests of the rich and big businesses at the expense of the middle class. They worry about the Democratic Party’s proclivity to spend tax dollars and provide ‘freebies’ to those who do not do their fair share, but they appreciate the Democrats’ focus on ‘the little people’ (among which they included themselves) and the fact that ‘it’s not all about the money.’
So the core Republican base is paranoid, deluded and they have little in common with the rest of America.
Of course, we didn’t really need a study to tell us that–this already proved that the GOP is outside the mainstream. Still, it’s nice to have scientific verification of what the rest of us have known for years.
And this explains why only 20% of the country identifies themselves as Republican, the lowest since 1983.
If the GOP ever wants to regain the majority, this makes it clear that they’ll have to make some major changes. The question is, does anyone in the Republican Party have the guts to ditch their far-right anchor of a base in order to win back moderate voters? Or will the GOP continue its long, slow political immolation?
I guess only time will tell.
UPDATE: Also, this:
[Public Policy Polling] polled 766 registered voters nationwide. Of the GOP respondents, 27% agreed that Obama “loves America,” 48% disagreed and 25% said they weren’t sure.
So only 27% of Republicans thinks the President of the United States loves America; 73% say he doesn’t or aren’t sure.
And you know that, if you asked just non-Republicans that same question, your results would look absolutely nothing like these.
Again, Republicans just aren’t like the rest of us.