Republicans Are Un-Cool

Gallup’s top poll yesterday titled “Republicans Move to the Right on Several Moral Issues” first sentence states that since May 2008 “Americans have inched to the right on a handful of the 15 issues rated.” That’s right… Americans not just Republicans.

The next top polls read “GOP Losses Span Nearly All Demographic Groups.” Are you confused?  Don’t feel alone.

If Americans are more conservative on several issues and another Gallup poll from last Friday even states “More Americans Pro-Life than Pro-Choice for the First Time,”
why is the GOP losing members in the affiliation category?

Gallup’s poll on “moral issues” shows that when it comes to divorce 62% of Americans find it acceptable as opposed to last year’s 70%. And when it comes to stem cell research 5% less find it acceptable.

When it comes to abortion 51% of Americans call themselves “pro-life” while 42% call themselves “pro-choice”. “This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995,” they report.

Yet polls show that movement “away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup,” and the cover of this week’s Time magazine reads “Republicans in Distress: Is the Party Over?”

The author of Time’s story Michael Grunwald, writes “even Joe the Plumber — who opposes abortion and homosexuality and considers America a ‘Christian nation’ — wants the party to drop its ‘holier than thou’ attitude on divisive social issues.”

It looks like in this case Joe the Plumber doesn’t represent the average Americans views according to Gallup.

Maybe we should stop quoting him.

Inventing characters like “Joe the Plumber” as spokesmen for the party (or allowing the media to) is one of the GOP’s problems. His initial appearance in the campaign proved to be a breath of life for McCain, but his continuous appearances as a voice of the party have become questionable and a bit embarrassing.

The worst representation was perhaps when as a speaker at the Media Research Center’s popular “Dishonor Awards” dinner he told a (outwardly) receptive crowd “God, all this love and everything in the room — I’m horny.”  

“Republicans are always elevating regular ‘Joes’ to be the spokesman of the party,” a young Republican insider told me.

“They should use these ‘Joes’ as storytellers for our issues but they shouldn’t become the symbolic figures of what the party is. You never see this from Democrats.”

“There is a reason certain people are communicators and spokesmen — that makes the Party look better. When you tout untrained, inexperienced people to do that for you, it ends looking bad.”
Gallup reported last week that “Generation Y (18 to 29) clearly is skewed fairly strongly in the direction of being either independent or Democratic in political orientation. This group constitutes a significant weakness for the Republican Party.”

When you’re faced with John McCain and “horny” Joe the Plumber or Barack and Michelle Obama, it’s an easy choice for Generation Y who is very much pre-occupied with image over substance (and it’s a stretch to assume there was much substance from Republicans in 2008).

Generation Y is a vehicle for pop culture, a culture that elected Barack Obama and that Republicans are out of touch with according to conservative leaders such as  Rush Limbaugh and Andrew Breitbart.

Polls show that when it comes to issues Americans are conservative, but when it comes to admitting themselves to the brand Republicans have created through candidates and spokesman they are no longer willing to identify.  

The increase in the number of people who are pro-life and anti-divorce is a reminder that America is center-right. There’s a much bigger indicator: the rejection by California voters Tuesday of 5 of 6 referenda on budgetary affairs. The only referendum they approved blocked pay raises for state officials in time of deficit.

It will take days or even weeks to parse out the demographics and deeper significance of the California results.  From what we’ve seen so far, these results may indicate an even deeper shift back toward voters rewarding the fiscal responsibility that’s only found among conservatives. The rest will be up to politicians and spokesman and the roles they play.