On Core Business Vote;
New evidence suggests a potentially historic shift in the Republican Party's identity -- what strategists call its "brand." The votes of many disgruntled fiscal conservatives and other lapsed Republicans are now up for grabs, which could alter U.S. politics in the 2008 elections and beyond.
Some business leaders are drifting away from the party because of the war in Iraq, the growing federal debt and a conservative social agenda they don't share. In manufacturing sectors such as the auto industry, some Republicans want direct government help with soaring health-care costs, which Republicans in Washington have been reluctant to provide. And some business people want more government action on global warming, arguing that a bolder plan is not only inevitable, but could spur new industries.
The Journal article cites the prominent example of Alan Greenspan, former Fed Reserve chairman, who blasted the GOP's fiscal record in his new book, saying, in a WSJ interview, "The Republican Party, which ruled the House, the Senate and the presidency, I no longer recognize."
The article cites numerous business leaders who have jumped ship from the Republican party and are now supporting Hillary Clinton and or supporting Democrats. These include Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive John Mack, John Canning Jr., chairman and chief executive of Madison Dearborn Partners, a large private-equity firm, and Richard Cooper, former chairman of Weight Watchers Inc.
Of course, this movement of business leaders to the Hillary Clinton camp will probably buttress the mistrust of Senator Clinton's policies, leanings and overly friendly relationship with big business. But it should come as no surprise to them, since her husband probably did more to move the Democratic party to the right than anyone in recent history.
Polling Shows the Same Trend of GOP Losing Support from Business
The WSJ article reports, that a poll they did in September, with NBC News found that "37% of professionals and managers identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, down from 44% three years ago."
And some bottom line numbers also support the pattern, the WSJ reports,
Federal campaign-finance reports document shifting support in some quarters of the business community. Hedge funds last year gave 77% of their contributions in congressional races to Democrats, up from 71% during the 2004 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan analyst of campaign finances. Last year the securities industry gave 45% of its money to Republicans, down from 58% in 1996, the center said.
"You see it in the lack of donor support" for Republican presidential candidates, says longtime strategist John Weaver. As former top adviser to presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain, Mr. Weaver recalls hearing Republican businesspeople grouse about the party's focus on moral issues and Iraq.
Overall, Democratic presidential candidates have raised more than $200 million this year, about 70% more than their Republican rivals.
Adding to the damage the GOP is experiencing, numerous polls are showing that voters have more confidence in Democrats to deal with taxation, the economy, trade, the decicit.
Perhaps most striking, a PEW poll reported that it's latest poll found huge changes.Support for social conservative issues like "old fashioned family values, marriage, firing gay teachers has dropped drastically. And in the past five years, the even split among voters-- 43% each supporting Democrats and Republicans-- has shifted so now Democrats have a 50 to 35% advantage.
One has to wonder, as the dinosaur era was ending, how long the last of the dinosaurs held out. We may be seeing a similar phenomenon with the Republican party today.