May 24, 2004
Armey v. DeLay

Interesting article in Salon about the falling-out of Dick Armey and Tom DeLay. Hard to believe, but I almost feel a twinge of nostalgia for Armey, puffed-up bloviating ideologue that he is. One item that caught my eye in the piece:

Armey is chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative, grass-roots, free-market advocacy organization. During travels last fall to promote his new book, "Armey's Axioms: 40 Hard-Earned Truths From Politics, Faith, and Life," the former majority leader said he found conservatives in the heartland to be discouraged by the enormous expansion of public spending and record budget deficits. "Wherever I went," Armey said, "I had people who were the natural constituency of the Republican Party say, 'Oh, the heck with it. I'll just stay home.'"

In a close presidential election, such GOP disaffection could prove decisive, he argued, a bigger factor undermining Bush than Ralph Nader might be for John Kerry. "You've got the Kerry people worried sick about the possibility that Nader might take 3 percent of their vote. But I think the Bush folks need to say, 'Well, how do we survive if 3 or 4 or 5 percent of our foundation base just decides to sit out the election?"

Echoing Armey, pollster John Zogby said he has heard the same anecdotal evidence of Republican disenchantment. "Today I'm in Austin, Texas," Zogby said in a phone interview, "and my driver said, 'I've been a Republican all my life, but I can't support him [Bush].'"

Polling data is beginning to reflect the souring mood, he said. In a survey of likely voters taken May 10-13, Zogby found that President Bush had the support of 71 percent of self-described conservatives, but 19 percent were for John Kerry. "That's really intriguing to me because the president and the administration have spent the last four years shoring up their conservative base," Zogby said. "But the tide may be going back out for them."

One has to take Armey's somewhat self-serving words with a certain amount of salt, but if Zogby is correct about John Kerry getting one-fifth of the self-described conservative vote, then we've really got something. I still want to see a real shift in poll numbers before I buy into all of these disaffected-Republican anecdotes, though. Zogby says it's starting, so we'll see.

UPDATE: The LA Times connects Bush's drop in popularity with recent polls showing a sizeable lead for generic Democrats in Congressional races. Via Political Wire.

UPDATE: How could I forget Hard Sell Monday? The Stakeholder cites both of these stories.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 24, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Typically, Republicans voting for Democrats tend to come from the more central to left portion of the party, so if what Zogby is claiming is true, then Bush has more problems than he thinks.

Posted by: William Hughes on May 24, 2004 10:35 AM