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Gaining Ground by Standing Firm

For a party in disarray, without a recognized leader and accused of only saying “no,” the Republicans aren’t doing so badly:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows U.S. voters trust the Democratic Party over Republicans on the top issue of the economy by just a three-point margin this month, 45% to 42%.

[.   .  .]

Republicans hold an eight-point lead on national security, up from six-points last month, representing their biggest lead since early January. New Rasmussen polling shows that confidence in the War on Terror has rebounded slightly this month.

On taxes, voters trust Republicans more by a 45% to 39% margin. . . Just as the president announced his plans to push immigration reform last week, Republicans moved ahead on the topic of immigration, leading the Democrats in voter trust by a 41% to 36% margin. In March, Democrats held a two-point lead on the issue.

The parties are now tied on the issue of Social Security, a topic the Democrats held solid leads on for several years of tracking. Now, each party earns trust from 41% of voters. In March, Democrats led 44% to 39% on the issue.

And the generic Congressional polling numbers are now tied.

Perhaps the pundits and media mavens have it all wrong. It might be that the party out of power doesn’t really need a singular leader or a complete alternative blueprint, at least not a year and a half from the next election. It may be that simple unalloyed opposition to overreaching government goes a long way toward digging out of the electoral hole. It may not be enough come election time, and there is a point at which Democrats will turn the tables and ask what Republicans are offering.

But for now, it may be that the enormity of the Democrats’ agenda is sinking in and that (apart from the president’s own personal popularity) in and of itself is enough to begin to level the playing field. We’ll see in a year, but for now it seems passing a trillion-dollar stimulus and a $3.6-trillion budget (at least each congressional house’s version of it) hasn’t enhanced the Democrats’ standing. If employment and economic growth bounce back, all will be forgiven. For now, however, there is some question as to just how politically viable the new New Deal really is.


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