the SuRvey of the ModeRn
1. The state of the Republican Party is:
Great. Things were tough, but Solid. We’re a unified party and
we’re back and as strong as the we’ve got a few image prob-
Democrats in most parts of the lems that we could work on, but
country. 13%* our fundamental beliefs are as
strong and relevant as ever. 61%
With midterm primary season offi-
cially under way, we’ve been hear-
ing a lot of talk lately about what
it means to be a real Republican.
So what’s the consensus? Beats us.
That’s why we asked seventy-five
leaders of the GOP—current and for-
mer members of Congress, former
Cabinet officials, state elected offi- Shaky. It’s not just image
cials, county party chairmen, and problems—we’re losing
ground with key constitu-
Terrible. We’ve got prob-
lems with the party—big
GOP bigwigs from across the coun- encies (Hispanics, women, ones—and we need to have
a major reassessment of
try—to fill out a short anonymous younger voters), and we need
to make some adjustments to what we should stand for in
survey about policy, politics, and per- the party platform. 22% the twenty-first century. 4%
sonalities. From Bush being right on 2. Which of the following statements best describes your essential
Iraq and Obama being a socialist to philosophy as a Republican?
their thoughts on immigration and You’re a fiscal conservative: You believe, above all, that the primary
emphasis of the party should be on lower taxes, free markets, and lim-
gay marriage, they give us a view of ited government regulation. 75%
the party that’s both predictable and You’re a social conservative: You believe, above all, in defending tra-
ditional values. 8%
surprising. See for yourself. You’re a national-security conservative: You believe the Republican
party is, above all, the party of national defense. 6%
You’re a libertarian: You believe, above all, that government should
WITH RepoRTIng bY AllIe ToWnsenD AnD MARk MIkIn just leave hardworking people alone. 11%
88 e sq 03•10 * Because o f ro u n d i n g , n ot a l l p e rc e n tag e s a d d u p to 100.
3. In the elections this fall, what 5. You’ve been given the opportunity to nominate the Republican of the Year—a person whose values
is the one topic that members best reflect your Republican Party. Whom would you choose?
of the Republican Party should
spend the most time talking
Lowering taxes 7%
Senator Mitch Representative Former vice- Rush Limbaugh
McConnell John Boehner president Dick Cheney 8%
Shrinking government 55% 7% 11% 11%
None of the above/Other 64%
Notable write-ins: John McCain (three times), Sarah Palin (four times), Newt Gingrich (twice), Tom Coburn
(twice), Governor Bob McDonnell (twice), Tom Ridge, Eric Cantor, Charlie Crist, “I am offended by these
Protecting traditional values choices.”
6. You’ve been given the opportunity to kick one person out of the party—his or her values simply aren’t
compatible with the Republican Party as you see it. Whom would you choose?
None of the above/Other 35%
Notable write-ins: Job creation,
job creation, job creation.
4. Whom would you
most like to see at
the top of the ticket
in the 2012 elections?
Senator Olympia Representative Michele Colin Powell Glenn Beck
Former governor Sarah Snowe Bachmann 7% 15% 12%
Palin 12% 30%
None of the above/Other 37%
Notable write-ins: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve King, “We need to grow our tent, not shrink it.”
Governor Tim Pawlenty 13% 7. Which of the following do you believe to be the number-one threat
to America’s national security?
Former governor Mitt Romney
Former governor Mike
None of the above/Other 36%
Notable write-ins: Ron Paul,
David Petraeus, Haley Barbour,
Mitch Daniels (twice).
i c o n s a n d m a p by a lway s w i t h h o n o r 89
The Sur vey of the Modern Republican Party
8. If you could poach one player from the other team, which of
the following Democrats would make a useful addition to the
No, thanks. You
can keep ’em.
11. In a poll released by Public Policy Poll-
ing in early August, just 32 percent of Repub-
licans in Virginia believe that Barack Obama
was born in the United States. How would
you characterize the role of the so-called
“birthers” in the Republican Party?
They’re the base. 2%
9. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have become controversial They’re the fringe. 87%
figures in our national dialogue. In your opinion, they should:
Keep talking. They’re speaking for millions of Americans who feel
They’re the mainstream. 12%
frustrated with the government’s current policies. 71%
Tone it down a little. They’re smart entertainers, but some of their 12. Who was the better 13. Do you
rhetoric risks alienating moderate and independent voters. 23% president? consider Barack
Shut up. They don’t speak for mainstream Republicans, and they’re
scaring people. 6%
Obama a socialist?
10. Michael Steele’s chairmanship of the
Republican Party has been:
A success. 17% Yes 78%
Pretty good, with a few rough patches. 55%
A disaster, but what did you expect? He got
dealt a bad hand. 8%
A disaster. The guy is inept. 4%
None of the above. 16%
14. Given what you’ve seen so
far, do you consider Barack
Obama to be a better or worse
president than Bill Clinton?
H. W. W. Obama may be the
Bush Bush worst president we’ve
53% 47% ever had. 29%
90 e sq 03•10
15. Do you believe that the fight against gay marriage should be among the highest priorities of
the Republican Party?
Yes. It’s a critical issue and we must remain vigilant in defending traditional values and practices.
No. It’s a distraction from more important conversations we should be having about national security and fiscal responsibility.
16. Do you agree that the United 18. Do you agree that a flat tax 22. Would you consider sup- 23. Do you believe that climate
States should commit as many on all Americans would be the porting a pro-choice candi- change is man-made?
troops and resources as nec- best way to reform the federal date in a local, state, or nation- Yes 17%
essary to defeat the Taliban in tax code? al election? No 83%
Yes 78% 24. Describe your preferred
No 23% makeup of the Republican
membership of Congress:
17. Do you agree that More moderates with a larger
America has the right but more ideologically diverse
to impose its will on Fewer moderates with a small-
when its interests are
concerned? Yes 65% No 35%
67% 33% er but more ideologically consis-
tent caucus. 43%
19. Would you, under any cir- 25. When it comes to its racial and ethnic
cumstances, support a tax in- makeup, the Republican Party is:
crease on any or all Americans
over the next twelve months?
20. Would you support tempo-
rary work programs and other
methods of “earned legaliza-
tion” for illegal immigrants?
No 42% No 48%
21. Which of the following best describes
President George W. Bush’s decision to
invade Iraq in 2003?
The right decision. 71%
The wrong decision. 29%
More diverse than Not diverse enough. Who cares?
the mainstream We could do more People are people.
media gives it to appeal to certain Let’s leave
credit for. racial and ethnic identity politics to
33% demographics. the Democrats.
s o w h at ’ s t h e c o n s e n s u s ? Based on our survey, conducted over the course of six weeks last fall and administered with a guarantee of anonymity to all
participants, three out of four leaders of the Republican Party consider Barack Obama to be a socialist. More than one in four consider him the worst president of
all time. Sixty-seven percent would consider supporting a pro-choice candidate. Seventy-one percent think W. made the right call in Iraq. No one really likes taxes
or the birthers. And a lot of people like Mitt Romney. ≥