Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 15:45
As part of their motivation in stopping the Help Families Save Their Homes act, some Democrats think they need Republican votes to win re-election:
This might be a smart tactic, but it often hurts Democrats who rely on Republican votes to win reelection. Put bluntly, it makes them look too liberal.
It is certainly true that there are some Democrats who rely upon Republican and conservative votes to win re-election. However, it is needs to be said that every Democrat needs Democratic and liberal votes to win re-election. No matter how red or blue your district is, every single Democratic member of Congress, except Joe Lieberman, won the majority of self-identified Democratic and self-identified liberal votes in his or her most recent campaign. Every. Single. One. If any Democrat were to start losing either self-identified Democratic or self-identified liberal votes, whether to third parties, to a primary challenger, to their Republican opponent, or to not voting, then that member of Congress would be in danger of losing either re-election or re-nomination.
Further, the self-identified Democratic and self-identified liberal vote is variable, even for Democratic candidates. Some Democrats win more Democratic votes than others. For example, take John Kerry vs. Barack Obama:
In 2004, 32.93% of the electorate were Kerry voters who self-identified as Democrats
In 2008, 34.71% of the electorate were Obama voters who self-identified as Democrats
In other words, President Obama boosted the Democratic vote total among self-identified Democrats by fully 1.8% of the electorate. He also did better among liberals than did Kerry:
In 2004, 17.85% of the electorate was Kerry voters who self-identified as liberals
In 2008, 19.58% of the electorate was Obama voters who self-identified as liberals
This 1.73% improvement among liberals is almost identical to the 1.78% improvement among self-identified Democrats. Further, both are larger than President Obama's improvement among self-identified Republicans (more in the extended entry):
Chris Bowers :: Democrats Need Democratic Voters More Than Republican Voters
In 2004, 1.62% of the electorate was Kerry voters who self-identified as Republicans
In 2008, 2.88% of the electorate was Obama voters who self-identified as Republicans
That is a raw improvement of only 1.26%. This was largely due to the declining number of Republicans in the electorate. They shrank from 37% of all voters in 2004 to only 32% of all voters in 2008.
Obama's gains among conservatives were roughly the same size as his gains among liberals and Democrats:
In 2004, 5.1% of the electorate was Kerry voters who self-identified as conservatives
In 2008, 6.8% of the electorate was Obama voters who self-identified as conservatives
Overall, the Democratic and liberal vote are not static, guaranteed entities for Democrats. Clearly, the amount of liberals and Democrats voting for Democratic candidates can vary from election to election In fact, the variance can be so great, that Democrats have more to lose from alienating self-identified liberal and self-identified Democratic voters than they do self-identified Republican and self-identified conservative voters. When one considers that every Democrat is affected by the overall vote totals Democrats receive from Democrats and liberals, then, strategically speaking, if somehow you were forced to choose, it is clearly a better move for the Democratic caucus as a whole to appeal to Democrats and liberals than it is to appeal to Republicans and conservatives.
While it is true that President Obama gained slightly more from self-identified Independents (2.34%) and moderates (2.1%) than he did from either liberals or Democrats, given that the country favors government aid for homeowners who are in danger of forescloure by a whopping 64%--33% margin, clearly the Democratic congressional leadership and President Obama are doing just fine in appealing to moderates and Independents, and don't appear to need concern trolling from right-wingers on how to improve in this area.
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