Rasmussen on US parties' best tactics for outreach

Scott Rasmussen, one of the more reliable pollsters in the U.S.A., has written a thoughtful round up of the issues surrounding the New York State's 23rd congressional district election, which took place on November 3, and which has not yet been called.

He writes:

while Republican voters overwhelmingly consider themselves conservative, only 56% of conservative voters consider themselves to be Republicans. In other words, nearly half of all conservatives nationwide reject the Republican Party label.

This means that Republicans looking to broaden their party’s outreach cannot ignore the need to attract a large number of conservative voters along with some political moderates. Of all the non-Republicans in the nation, 31% consider themselves at least somewhat conservative while 37% say they’re political moderates.

The sweet spot for Republicans are core issues that unify conservatives while dividing more moderate voters. One such issue is health care where conservatives are united in their opposition to the plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, and 37% of moderates are opposed, too.

Looked at from that perspective, nominating a GOP candidate who supports the president’s health care plan is likely to drive away more voters than it attracts. The same logic applies to the stimulus package, card check and other such proposals. That’s just what happened in NY-23. Nationwide, 42% currently support the health care plan working its way through Congress.

It should be noted that Democratic Party dynamics are entirely different.

While a plurality (44%) of Democrats are politically liberal, nearly as many (35%) are moderate. So Democrats must make compromises within their party before reaching out. Also, the pool of available non-Democrats is very heavily on the moderate side.

Just nine percent (9%) of non-Democrats are even somewhat liberal while 29% are politically moderate. These non-Democratic political moderates are absolutely essential to Democratic candidates. That’s why Democrats are eager to suggest that situations such as NY-23 indicate a GOP rejection of moderates in favor of extremists.

Interestingly, while Republican voters say their congressional representatives are out of touch, a plurality (47%) of Democratic voters view their members of Congress as roughly in the same place they are ideologically. Just 27% say the average Democratic member of Congress is more liberal than the average Democrat, while 19% think the average Democrat in Congress is more conservative.

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