Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gallup Poll of DNC Members

[This is a post I intended to publish last Friday, when the software problems occurred.]

Gallup recently released the results of a poll [subscription required] of 223 members of the Democratic National Committee. Among the findings are that a majority of DNC members have great confidence in Howard Dean as party chair; believe "major changes" are needed to the party's approach to winning elections rather than a "complete overhaul" (or "minor changes"); and think that persuading swing voters is more important for future success than is mobilizing the base.

However, I was most interested in the responses to the following question:

2. Next, here are a few reasons some people have given for why the Democrats lost the 2004 presidential election. Which of these do you think is most to blame for the Democrats' loss - [ROTATED: the Democrats' inability to match the Republicans' grass roots efforts, the fact that the Republicans ran an incumbent president during wartime, the Democratic Party's positions on major issues, (or) the weaknesses of John Kerry as a presidential candidate]?

2005 Jan 27-Feb 8:

Inability to match grass roots efforts ---- 20%

Incumbent pres. during wartime --------- 49%

Party's positions on major issues ----------7%

Weaknesses of Kerry ---------------------- 16%

OTHER (vol.) ------------------------------- 2%

None/No opinion -------------------------- 6%

The plurality response here - that Bush was a wartime incumbent - isn't exactly the explanation I'd give, but it's close. And it suggests, correctly, that Kerry's loss was the result of circumstances that were largely out of his control.

I'll soon be offering a more detailed explanation of why I think Kerry lost, but it's good to see so few DNC members on the "blame Kerry" bandwagon that others are pushing (e.g., the editors at The New Republic, particularly Martin Peretz).


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