August 29, 2004


Battleground Poll August 2004 - The Growing Conservative Majority (Bruce Walker, August 29, 2004, Mens News Daily)

The rock solid statistic in the latest Battleground Poll, the number that actually means something, the salient political fact that I have been raising in articles for the last several years, is found in the "housekeeping" section of the questionnaire: Question D3 on Page 11 of the sixteen page questionnaire.

It bears repeating: "When thinking about politics, do you consider yourself to be..." and then it lists six options for responders, which are "Very conservative," "Somewhat conservative," "Moderate," "Somewhat liberal," "Very Liberal," and "Unsure/Refused."

Precise recitation of these options is important because Leftists typically respond to polls which show that America is conservative by saying something like "Oh, no - it is really moderate, not conservative" or "Most people do not really have an ideological position."

That is completely false. This Battleground Poll, like the five before it over the last four years, have given Americans the easy option of calling themselves a "moderate" or of simply saying that the "don't know" or "refused to answer."

Those Americans who call themselves conservative in this latest Battleground Poll constitute exactly sixty percent of the American public. The rest - all of the rest, including "moderates" and "unsure" and "refused to answer" and every shade of "liberal" - constituted exactly forty percent of the American public.

If Bill Kristol is right about McCain replacing Cheney this week, the GOP ticket will get to 60%.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 29, 2004 11:28 PM

Disagree. Kristol and the rest of the Weekly Standard gang were pushing McCain over Bush in 2000 (Brooks even has another national greatness article today) and would strongly prefer McCain over Bush and Cheney even now. Cheney dropping off the ticket would hurt the GOP as the media and Dems portrayed it as weakness by Bush (claims of health issues would be dispelled). And the lefty media is already turning on McCain for his shot at Kerry today - if he takes the VP spot the media would turn on him completely. Finally McCain isn't as well liked by the conservative base as much as Cheney. Bush should end up in the low to mid-50s with Cheney on the ticket - switching to McCain runs the risk of alienating the base and losing the election.

Posted by: AWW at August 29, 2004 11:39 PM

Bill Kristol is hardly ever right, especially when it concerns his hero McCain. McCain is not a conservative. He would be part of the 40% in this Battleground Poll, and as a card-carrying member of the VRWC base, I would be sorely tempted to simply not vote with McCain on the ticket.

Posted by: Melissa at August 29, 2004 11:42 PM

McCain and Bush? Kiss private political speech goodbye with that combo.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 29, 2004 11:44 PM


When the top of the ticket is the leading conservative in the country you can get away with a wet below.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2004 11:45 PM


A 60 seat GOP senate can rewrite campaign finance laws at will.

Posted by: oj at August 29, 2004 11:51 PM

Democrat governor in Arizona would get to name a McCain replacement. Were you not counting him in the 60 seats? Not that he'd vote for any Republican-sponsored legislation that strangles his monster baby.

Posted by: Melissa at August 30, 2004 12:12 AM


Getting over 60 is easier than it sounds.

The GOP will lose IL to Obama, but then all you need to do is sweep the Southern vacancies, knock off Daschle, Reid, Feingold, Lincoln, & Murray and either beat Bayh or scare him.

Then, in the aftermath, you've got at least four people, maybe as many as eight, who'd have to think about switching Ben Nelson seems certain to, Bill Nelson, possible, Mary Landrieux, Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, the other guys in the Dakotas and Montana, etc.

Posted by: oj at August 30, 2004 12:17 AM

Bill Kristol was smoking crack. I could see it in his eyes.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 30, 2004 12:59 AM

Instead of switching, what if all those Dems you mention form a splinter caucus with their own leadership, etc.? On one hand they can still claim to be non-Dems and not be tainted by becoming Evil Republicans™, but also gain the freedom from having to justify/explain/excuse Kennedy, Kerry, Byrd, Rodham-Clinton, Feinstein, Leahy, and the rest of the DinoDems. Especially if a similiar group were to form in the House, and get a few governors and former well-known Dem officeholders like Zell Miller, Nunn, Ed Koch, etc. to join in, it could be the start of a rational opposition party. They might even be able to peel off some Northeastern GOPers like Snow or Chafee, too.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 30, 2004 1:01 AM


Interesting concept. Five Democrats (the press dubbed them 'The Gang of Five') in the California Assembly did this in the 1990's. Congressional Democrats (the 'Blue Dog Democrats' including Gary Condit who had been a member of the Gang of Five before going to Washington) did it in the 1990's as well. The problem is that you have to be willing to cross the aisle on some important issues (like tax cuts) and actually vote with Republicans. I don't see it happening.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at August 30, 2004 5:41 AM

I am most certainly not a McCain fan (nor Krystal) however McCain's strength is a perfect fit for Bush in BLUE states, California, Illinois, Pa. MI., and the Northeast. Cheney gives Bush almost no traction in those states. In addition McCain does no harm to Bush in Red States.

Other than that reason, I would prefer Cheney.

Posted by: h-man at August 30, 2004 6:14 AM

OJ - go check out National Review, Weekly Standard, the normal group of conservative mags/blogs and watch them trash Bush on a daily basis as not being conservative enough and being wrong on the issues (immigration, govt spending, foreign policy, judges, etc). The furor over the 527 ads has rekindled the "Bush was an idiot to sign CFR" debate. Bush tapping McCain would become the 27th reason why these sights would say they cannot support Bush.
H-man might be right that McCain helps pick up some blue states while not hurting in the red states but I'm not as sure.

Posted by: AWW at August 30, 2004 7:55 AM


Every one of them will vote for Bush

Posted by: oj at August 30, 2004 8:40 AM


Bayh is not going to lose in Indiana, nor is he going to switch parties. The Indiana Democrats are much more conservative than the national Democrats as a whole. Bayh is too intertwined in the Indiana Democrats to leave them, and his image as a moderate is what keeps him a senator in Indiana.

Posted by: ProCynic at August 30, 2004 10:53 AM

Mr. Judd;

That's exactly what I'm afraid of. Both Bush and McCain have come out in strong support for regulating and restricting political speech. Bush's current claim is that the problem with McCain-Feingold CFR was that it wasn't restrictive enough. And McCain wrote it. Why wouldn't the two of them, with 60 Senators, write a bill that is what they both seem to want?

Basically, on what evidence do you claim that Bush would prefer to loosen up legal restrictions on political speech?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 30, 2004 10:59 AM


He wants to be president. He needs to switch to achieve that goal.

(His old man's seat was considered safe in 1980 too.)

Posted by: oj at August 30, 2004 11:02 AM


He's conservative.

Posted by: oj at August 30, 2004 11:06 AM


He wants to be president, but it's not going to happen. For several reasons:

1. Even if he tried to switch, Bayh is hated by Republicans in Indiana. I don't think this hatred is justified, but it is palpable. He has built a cult of personality in Indiana, but that would be severely damaged by a party switch. Whatever national organization he had built would be gone, and Indiana Republicans would make sure the National GOP wouldn't help him build a new one.

2. Birch Bayh lost in a Republican landslide in 1980; he was far too liberal for conservative Indiana. Evan Bayh won't make that mistake, but keeping him in office in Indiana won't help him with the national Democratic party.

3. Many of the national pundits don't seem to realize that Indiana is even less respected as a state than Arkansas. Indiana is seen as a third-world joke in the Midwest. A presidential candidate from Indiana could very well swing the Midwest, including neighboring Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, into the other camp.

Posted by: ProCynic at August 30, 2004 1:14 PM


Bush offers him a prime cabinet slot. That gives him experience as a Governor, Senator, Cabinet officer. He becomes a natural VP pick in '08.

The same landslide could carry the same states this time--SD, IN, WI...

Posted by: oj at August 30, 2004 1:22 PM

Mr. Judd;

I see your point, since Bush's conservatism stopped him from signing the McCain-Feingold CFR bill after it was passed by Congress. Too bad about that veto override.

I hate to harp on this, as you've complained about Bush signing the bill in previous posts, but really there's nothing except vague beliefs and hand waving to indicate he wouldn't sign something even more restrictive. Indeed, Bush's own words indicate that he'd happily sign a more restrictive bill.

I changed my mind about Bush on the free trade issue because of specific actions of Bush's, primarily the free trade agreements that showed up on a regular basis. That doesn't appear to be the case with regard to political speech restrictions.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 30, 2004 2:47 PM


You're speaking of two entirely different things: his desires vs. political reality.

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