GOP Closing the Gap Because of Security and ….Pork?

A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll showed that the gap between support for a generic Democrat and generic Republicans had narrowed to 2% (47%-45%, respectively). As the related USA Today story pithily explained:

The arrest of terror suspects in London has helped buoy President Bush to his highest approval rating in six months and dampen Democratic congressional prospects to their lowest in a year.

In short, as security issues came back to the forefront, the general public re-assessed their priorities and–as has historically been the case–tend to look more favorably upon the GOP with regards to the future of Iraq and the War on Terror. Don Lambro agrees with “security” angle, but also adds this:

Another factor behind the Republicans’ end-of-summer rise in the polls: They have spent the past month reminding voters, particularly their party’s base, what they have done for their states and districts. Despite all the justified criticism about wasteful pork-barrel spending, the fact remains that most voters like their tax dollars coming back to them in bridge, road and other public-works projects and members aren’t shy about reminding them about the bacon they’ve brought home.

We’ve certainly seen this born out as one of the central pillars of Senator Chafee’s reelection strategy. It’s a tried and true strategy and is effective in garnering support from most average voters (like RI Independents), as Lambro’s analysis of the poll seems to bear out . It also is in stark contrast to Mayor Laffey’s “no pork” approach, which is appealing to the more conservative GOP base (the Porkbusters crowd). Two different messages that appeal to two different sections of the GOP primary electorate. Which message will ultimately take hold? As with all else in this crazy race, it all depends on turnout.

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Anthony
Anthony
14 years ago

The real question is which view takes hold in November. I watched Dick Morris on FOX a couple of days ago and he thinks that the GOP will lose control of the House. He thought the Senate is closer, with many seats still in play. Not surprisingly, the Dems are already jockeying for leadership positions.

Will
Will
14 years ago

Newsflash: bribing people with loads of cash can be a very effective means of getting your way, but fortunately, not for those with principles.
I suspect that we will largely get the result that we deserve in November, meaning, that if we lose one or both houses in Congress, it will be because we deserve it.

Greg
Greg
14 years ago

Well, the Republicans (MY party) haven’t exactly shown me any reason why they’re better than Democrats since they’ve had control of the government. I expected sweeping changes, streamlining of government, reduction of waste, erasure of redundant personnel and services, tax reform, social security privatization, secure borders, etc….
What did I get? Democrats with (R) after their names.
I aint happy.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

Very mixed feelings here.
The Republicans have delivered on 2nd Amendment issues and, arguably, on the Supreme Court (though – no pun intended – the “jury is still out” on Roberts / Alito). In any case, Roberts-Alito are far better than what the Democrats would have injected.
That the Republicans are better on national defense is a given.
But man, have they been horrible on domestic issues and fiscal responsibility. Ronald Reagan must be rolling in his grave.
So while I cringe at the thought of “official” Democrat control of either house of Congress (I say official because, thanks to Chafee et als., they have unofficial control of the Senate), losing “official” control of one or more of the houses – due to the “Republican base” rebelling and/or “staying home” might serve as a “much needed” wake-up call to the GOP.
For now, I’m concentrating on purging Chafee from “public service,” and supporting Carcieri (God help RI if “Fogarty spawn of the Democrat machine” becomes Governor) … and whatever occurs in the rest of the country “will be what will be.”

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