One of the points of the Republican Party’s “analysis” of their failure to capture the Presidency, and the loss of seats in both the House and Senate, was that they failed to adequately communicate their message. The core assumption is that it isn’t their principles which are at fault, it’s that they didn’t do a good job of explaining it to the public, and in particular, minorities, women, and youth. A bright spot for them was their governors:
Republicans are thriving on the state level. Republican governors, conservatives at their core, have campaigned and governed in a manner that is inclusive and appealing. They point the way forward.
Across America, GOP governors are working successfully with their legislatures to enact meaningful changes in people’s lives.
Yes, according to this, the GOP’s problem on the national level are mostly due to “communication,” not “the message.” That’s why this past week’s news wasn’t a good thing for them.
One of their “rising stars,” someone who has been touted as a presidential candidate in 2016 is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Who has been doing exactly what Republicans say they want to do nationally in his home state:
Jindal’s proposal was different than tax plans by national Republicans like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in that it planned to eliminate income and corporate taxes entirely instead of just lower rates, but the provisions that inflamed the public against it overlap plenty with national GOP proposals. Namely, both plans generated complaints from economists that they would require regressive tax increases on the poor and middle class to pay for lower taxes for the wealthy.
Grover Norquist, the intellectual leader of the anti-tax crowd in Washington, had praised Jindal’s plan as “the boldest, most pro-growth state tax reform in U.S. history.” He noted that it was particularly significant, because with Obama positioned to veto anything resembling the House GOP’s budget for the next several years, Louisiana might be Republicans’ best chance to show off their tax ideas on the state level.
Good stuff, right? Not really:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal scrapped a plan to replace income and corporate taxes with a new sales tax, following public outcry and a precipitous drop in his approval ratings.
How bad? Bad:
A new poll in Louisiana shows President Obama is now more popular than Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), despite the state’s clear Republican lean.
The Southern Media and Opinion Research poll, which is funded by GOP donor Lane Grigsby, shows the potential 2016 presidential candidate’s approval rating has fallen to 38 percent — down from 51 percent in September.
Obama, who lost the state by more than 17 points in November, has a 43 percent approval rating.
His decision to not accept the Medicaid expansion wasn’t popular, either. Even Republicans in his state aren’t happy with him. In other words, the governor who was implementing the ideological principles that the Republican Party says they weren’t adequately communicating, in a deep Red state, gets hammered once their implications became clear. About the only solace he has? Well, he’s not the most unpopular governor. Let’s look at another “deep red” state, where Republican policies have been getting enacted: Kansas. How’s their governor doing?
There may be an even more hated governor lurking in the fringes– and he was chosen to give the weekly Republican Party radio address yesterday, Kansas reactionary Sam Brownback, who, like Jindal, has seen his approval rating disappear as he decided to use his state as a laboratory for failed European Austerity agendas. And of course, he actually used the speech to tout his unpopular tax policy as something everyone ought to try. Like Jindal he’s trying to eliminate the state income tax and the services it pays for.
A poll just over a month ago shows that Brownback and his Austerity agenda so unpopular among Kansas voters, that he could have troubling winning reelection in 2014. His approval rating, 37%, is even lower than Jindal’s.
Oh, not so good. Well there’s always Rick Scott in Florida.
His approval rating, however, hasn’t topped 41% since May 2011, according to Quinnipiac University polls. His most recent number was 36% in a survey released March 20.
The same survey indicated that only 32% of voters believe Scott deserves re-election.
Oops! How about Michigan?
Michigan voters are unhappy with their Republican leaders. More Democrats than Republicans are favored in the Michigan legislature and for the Governor’s race next year.
Not helping incumbent Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s re-election race is his current approval rating. Sitting at a 37% approval rating and larger 54% disapproval rating, Snyder has dropped one point in his approval rating since a previous poll in December.
Uh oh. Yes, the places where governors are being touted by the national party as being “leaders” and “successful” for implementing the Republican Party’s “principles” are … about as popular as fleas on a dog. Josh Marshall puts it well:
Broadly speaking it cut back a lot of services that people rely on and redistributed almost all the tax burden onto middle class and lower middle class families. So cut services relied on by the middle class (and below) and make them pay all the taxes. We’re surprised this didn’t catch fire?
It’s really about the most obvious thing you can imagine and puts it sharp relief the big gap between what excites ideologues in the Republican party and what has a remote chance of flying with the public at large, even in a pretty conservative state like Louisiana.
There’s a big section in their plan about doing better polling, but one thing they have to start doing is reading and believing the polling. Because what the polls and public reactions should be telling them? What sounds good in the abstract when discussed in think tanks, what is an easy sell to people who don’t believe it will impact them, becomes extremely unpopular when it turns out to cut things that people have taken for granted and it does impact them.
The Republican’s have been trying to figure out what went wrong in 2012, how to do better outreach, and what lessons they learned from it. What they didn’t see? It’s their message that’s the problem. That’s the lesson that the GOP hasn’t learned … yet.