65% of men and 32% of women supported Alito.
Not one African American among the 109 in the poll supported Alito's appointment-- 80% opposed and 20% were not sure. People in families with incomes over $75,000 were equally divided.
When it came to support for the filibuster, only 70% of Democrats supported it, compared to 91% of Republicans opposed to it. The Democratic leadership didn't do their job rousing their base. They didn't do their job polling to discover Alito's vulnerabilities, based on the many rulings he'd made. This should have been an obvious project. Identify rulings that affect different demographic bases. Poll on dozens of them to see which ones pull the strongest responses, then hilight those issues in the hearsings, using the media to get the word out. The Republicans acted like marketers in the Alito hearings. The Democrats acted like lawyers. The result was the Democrats were abject failures. This was all about failed leadership.
The blame starts with Harry Reid. Perhaps self-infatuated Joe Biden was the worst, with his fatuous conversation with Alito, when he could have been doing damage to the man by reciting some of his lies, some of his bizarre, extremist rulings.
The right wing victory is also a victory for language weaponization, for framing and spin. People saw the filibuster as too strong a response.
People also saw the "nuclear option" as too extreme a response. 55% of all panelists rejected the Republican threat to end the use of the filibuster.
The strongest opposition to the "nuclear option" came from people under 24, women, residents of cities large and small, non-married people (divorced, separated, widowed, civil union) Jewish, non-church-goers,union members and African Americans.
The strongest support for the end of the filibuster came from men, rural residents, Born agains, weekly churchgoers, Libertarians, weekly Walmart customers and NASCAR fans
The filibuster is not dead, but the lesson to be learned is it takes more planning, more advance work on language, on spin, on understanding demographics to win on fights like this. The Democratic party has proven itself incompetent in the most important recent battles-- The 2004 presidential race and the Alito nomination.
The members of the Democratic party deserve to know more about who they are, what they believe in and stand for. The Democratic party should be polling to get a better pulse on the party. The leaders are out of step. But it may very well be that they already know it. If that is the case, it will be up to insurgents within the party to fight to take the party back. I see that happening all across the country. The hundreds of thousands of activists who became politically active during the 2004 elections are now getting involved in state, county an local politics. This is the year they will have to make agressive efforts to take over the local, grassroots level control of their party.
It's just about certain that turncoat Joe Lieberman will be facing serious competition come April. It might just happen to Ed Rendell too. It's time for a strong woman to rise to the challenge. It's clear that women are the true strength of the Democratic party. We should be looking to them to find the winners in the November 2006.