It seems that “change” is still in the air. Â The question at this point — How drastic will that change be come November?
He lays out the numbers we’re used to seeing first (incumbents in trouble, not trusted), and they look basically like this:
92% say people in Congress are more interested in holding power than serving constituents, and 72% believe that about their representatives; 86% say Washington is out of touch with their concerns; 83% say longevity in Congress makes legislators more out of touch; 77% say newly elected legislators are more in touch than longtime incumbents; 77% say the nation’s capital corrupts even the well-intentioned; 72% want term limits for members of Congress; and 64% prefer to vote for an “outsider.” The only finding less than awful for incumbents showed that by a close 49% to 45% margin, people believe first-term legislators are just as effective as long-timers.
But Zogby goes on to say that Republican successes may be mitigated somewhat by the rising power of the GOP’s conservative base and, especially, the tea party.
…[T]his should be easy for the Republicans. Play it safe, promise change and give conservatives just enough talk about limited government, lower taxes and family values to keep them on board without alienating moderate independents. Throw in a website where voters can weigh in with their ideas, as the GOP has done with AmericaSpeakingOut.com, and you should have a winning formula.
Ah, it’s never that easy anymore. The GOP’s problem may turn out to be something that would otherwise be a blessing: the enthusiasm of its conservative base. The Tea Party movement has emerged with great influence on the nominating process but has an unproven record in a national election. It is obvious that the insistence of the party base for conservative purity, coming especially from the Tea Party, is making the GOP establishment uncomfortable.
We have a hard time completely buying Zogby’s final point.
We’ve written in the past that we aren’t huge fans of purity tests and the like, but what on earth could be wrong with making the establishment a little (or a lot) uncomfortable??
It seems as though Zogby was over-leveraging his tea party/conservative base argument in order to make his own point, something that’s pretty aggravating to see from pollsters, but oh well.