Because of the way Independent voters responded to one question in the recent POLITICO-GW Battleground Poll, I titled this post as I did (instead of following Politico’s lead and saying that independents were turning to the GOP.) While they favor the Republican to the Democratic congressional candidate by a margin of 44-30, 38 percent believe the Democrats have been “more specific this year in proposing policies and solutions for our nation’s problems” as opposed to 30 percent for the Republicans.
To be sure, some of those who believe Democrats have been more specific in offering solutions may not like the particular details of said solutions (e.g., the health care overhaul). That said, with only 30 percent of independents thinking the Republicans have specific solutions to our nation’s problems, it’s pretty clear most of those opting for GOP candidates primarily because they’re not Democrats.
Only 33% (of independents) believe the economic stimulus legislation passed by President Obama and Congress is working. 64% do not. And 44% prefer an unnamed GOP candidate for president to the 29% who prefer a named Democratic one – the incumbent. It’s pretty clear independents are turning away from this president and his party.
Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff offers a similar assessment:
The Battleground Poll referred to above shows that independents are flocking to Republican candidates out of disgust with Obama and Pelosi, not delight with Republicans. It is also unlikely that independents are enamored with significant portions of the conservative agenda. After all, only about 40 percent of the country typically describes itself as conservative in polls, and many of them are probably to the left of the Tea Party movement mainstream. In the Battleground poll discussed above, 24 percent of respondents described themselves as very conservative.
Something for Republicans to chew off. I tend to be a bit more sanguine than Paul about the popularity of the Tea Party agenda. Recall the recent Gallup poll showing record opposition to big government:
Record- or near-record-high percentages of Americans are critical of the size and scope of government, as measured by four Gallup trend questions updated in September. This sentiment stretches to 59% of Americans now believing the federal government has too much power, up eight percentage points from a year ago.
If Republicans develop an agenda to cut the size of government and curtail its scope, they’ll convince independent voters they have solutions to our nation’s problems and keep them in their column.