A new survey released today by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds that Rush Limbaugh is hurting the Republican Party, and that the Republicans refusal to stand up to Rush is damaging them with Independents and moderate Republicans who reject Rush’s definition of conservatism.
Overall Limbaugh has a high negative rating of 53% with all respondents to the survey, as opposed to 26% of people who had a positive view of him. Rush also has a 3 to 1 negative rating with Independents, and 48% of likely voters also believed that Rush Limbaugh has too much influence over the GOP, compared to 16% who felt that he didn’t have enough. However, 41% people felt that the Republican Party wants President Obama to succeed. Only 26% endorsed the Limbaugh view that Republican should want Obama to fail.
I think what is most telling about this poll is that, 46% of people strongly agreed with the statement, “The Republican Party is mostly embracing the same old ideas and leaders it has relied on for the past 20 years.” Only 19% of those asked thought that the Republican Party is seeking out new leaders and fresh ideas. The problem for Republicans it seems isn’t Limbaugh himself, but the fact that represents the same old Republican ideas and politics.
Only, 21% of those asked said that Rush Limbaugh shares their values, while 48% said that he did not share their values. By a small margin of 41%-30% respondents thought that Republicans should denounce Limbaugh’s attacks on President Obama, compared with the idea that Republicans leaders should defend Limbaugh’s right to disagree. By a margin of 57%-37% respondents thought that instead of becoming more conservative as Limbaugh has suggested, the Republican Party needs to move to the middle as suggested by John Huntsman.
The lack of leadership in the GOP was demonstrated by the response to the question, who is the leader of the Republican Party? Thirty eight percent said that it was still John McCain, 25% said that it was Newt Gingrich, 24% said it was Rush Limbaugh, 23% said that it was Mitt Romney, 16% said that it was Sarah Palin, 13% said John Boehner, 12% said Bobby Jindal, and 7% each said Mitch McConnell and Michael Steele. The point being that the Republican Party is currently viewed as having no leader, and it does not bode well for their future that Limbaugh is viewed as more of a leader than future presidential candidates, Romney, Jindal, and Palin.
I think that the Democratic strategy of propping up Rush Limbaugh as the example of tired old Republican politics has worked. This survey was composed of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, landline and cell phone users. People seem to want the Republican Party to reject Rush Limbaugh’s conservatism and move back to the middle. If this poll demonstrates anything, it shows that correctness of RNC chairman Michael Steele’s position that the GOP needs to change. However, this is the same Michael Steele the RNC is trying to run out of town on rail for suggesting that they need to change. It the GOP doesn’t listen to Steele and follows Limbaugh, they will take a huge step towards alienating the middle, and virtually ensuring Democratic victories in future elections.