Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Right-Wing's Crumbling Narrative

Heading into the election season, there have been numerous claims from the right-wing fringe that Republicans and Tea Party backed candidates are going to usurp power in both chambers of congress, repeal health care reform, and do everything in their power to defend the constitution from the centuries old assault from progressives.  There is one big problem with that narrative - its not going to happen.

Think about the news stories that have dominated the media for the past several weeks regarding the election with headlines filled with anti-incumbency rhetoric.  Of course people like the Tea Party say that it is really directed towards both parties, not just the Democrats, and in some ways it is true (considering all the Tea Party backed challengers against sitting Republicans), but considering Democrats hold healthy majorities in both chambers, this anti-incumbency is directed more towards Democrats.  You would think that with all this angry talk about our elected officials in Washington, an overwhelming majority of them would have lost in their primary elections, right?  Wrong.

Here is a humorous video from Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in which Stewart points out that incumbents won 82 of the 84 primary elections, and of the two that lost, there was no real surprise - one was forced into a runoff and the other was Republican Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, who had been accused of numerous state and federal crimes.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2010 - Primary Victory for Women
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I had mentioned the anti-incumbency narrative being wrong on right-wing propaganda site Big Government and was directed to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies poll featured on NPR that shows the attitudes towards incumbents.

Wait a second!  Don't conservatives hate NPR because it is some sort of big bad socialist corporation?  It is interesting that these sources are only okay when they present data that could help advance a particular narrative, but what exactly does this poll mean and how does it relate to the video clip above?

The poll has some really nice color pie charts that explain the study real well, and it appears that most people approve of their incumbent.

The next pie charts show that when asked if they woul re-elect the incumbent, more people said they would not re-elect the Democratic candidate while more Said they would re-elect the Republican.

According to the poll, more people seem to favor Republicans and more people claim they will not vote for the incumbent, but as Jon Stewart pointed out, actions are different then words.  Sure it was only a primary election, but when you compare the figures from the poll to the fact that 98% of the elections were in favor of the incumbent, confidence in the anti-incumbency narrative begins to dwindle, and considering other polls out there, like an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted earlier this month that showed more people want Democrats to retain power, I would have to say that whole narrative built up by the right-wing has lost almost all credibility.

According to the AP-GfK poll, 46% of respondents wanted Democrats to win control of congress, and although the poll also indicated that 55% of respondents would prefer someone else other than the incumbent to be elected, it seems that they would rather have a Democrat in office, and so the real question is which is the stronger conviction - the anti-incumbent sentiment or the anti-Republican sentiment?

I would go for the latter...

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