This is from an article published in the UNO Gateway student newspaper, 01-18-12. The newspaper article was titled “Obama’s strategy in 2012: Anyone but Obama!”
The Gallup daily tracking poll has been tracking the political leanings of U.S. citizens since the 2008 election, and has come up with some interesting results. Since 2008, the percentage of people who call themselves conservative has increased by 2% while people who call themselves liberal has decreased by 1%.
Within the GOP, voters have reflected this trend almost exactly. Registered Republicans who consider themselves conservative has grown 3% since 2008, while registered Republicans who call themselves moderate has decreased 3%. The final totals stand thusly- Republicans who consider themselves conservative make up 68% of the party, while moderates make up only 26% of the party.
On the other hand, Democrats are becoming increasingly out of touch with the values of the general public. Registered Democrats who call themselves conservative (by democratic standards) have dropped 3%, while those who call themselves liberal has increased by 2%.
This should be the first thing Republican strategists look at in 2012. Given the state of the economy, fiscal conservatism has become a prerequisite for gaining the nomination, while social conservatism has been placed on the back burner.
This puts Santorum, Huntsman and Perry squarely out of the running, as reflected by their dismal performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. Of these three, only Huntsman has been able to face reality, finally throwing in the towel Monday morning. Santorum and Perry are still trudging along under the delusion that they are bringing something new to the table. When in reality they are both merely watered-down versions of Gingrich, the only candidate besides Romney with a full understanding of the multitude and importance of the issues facing the nation today.
They have been trumped by the more fiscally conservative positions of Romney, Gingrich, and Paul. Of these, Romney remains the most moderate. So why is it that a moderate like Romney (Moderomney, if you will) is gaining momentum with every passing day? It’s as if he has channeled the spirit of Secretariat in the GOP race. The answer is fragmentation.
The base of the GOP is more conservative than Romney, so they vote for more conservative candidates. Many flock to Newt Gingrich. Many flock to Ron Paul. Hardline social conservatives flock to Rick Santorum. Pigeons flock to the empty lot that, until just a few days ago, housed Huntsman 2012 HQ. What this means is the base of the GOP has divided its votes amongst the true conservatives, paving the way for Moderomney to win with ease.
Looking ahead to Nov., these numbers indicate for conservatives to pull off a victory, they must nominate someone who espouses the conservative values of the base, or this election cycle will go down in history as “2012: 2008 Part Two.” In an atmosphere this politically charged, Conservatives have a unique opportunity to present to the American public someone who represents their values, someone who is as conservative as the majority of Americans claim to be. The current President is as far left as any President has been, and the Democrat party is continuing to move in that direction. For the GOP to pull out a victory, they must highlight this important difference. The GOP’s values are shifting in tandem with the public, while Democrats are becoming more radically disengaged from the public.
To avoid living 2008 all over again, Conservatives have to unite behind a Conservative. Without a true conservative candidate in the race in Nov., the voting block giving the GOP its fire right now will become disillusioned, and the party’s chances of gaining the White House will fizzle.
Republican voters are split, and the current situation benefits only one candidate- President Obama. The President’s strategy for the rest of the year has already been determined by his contenders- he can just sit back and watch. “Anyone but Obama” is the most assured way to receive only Obama.