R.I.P. GOP: How The New America Is Dooming The Republicans

R.I.P. GOP: How The New America Is Dooming The Republicans

 In his compelling new book R.I.P. GOP: How The New America Is Dooming The Republicans, Stan Greenberg reveals the deep generational, demographic, and ideological trends that are creating a new country where the old ruling dynamics no longer hold. Bringing to bear his decades of experience as pollster, consultant, analyst, and activist — bolstered by his own focus groups and survey data — Greenberg not only tells us why these changes are occurring but where they lead us politically, starting next year. It’s an optimistic message for America: White nationalism is the curse of the past, and multicultural democracy is the wave of the future.


The Republicans’ counter-revolution has been animated by deep worries about America’s rapidly changing demography. Well, it turns out, they were not imagining or exaggerating. They have good reason to believe revolutionary changes are reshaping the country irretrievably.

The most important change is immigration. The globe has witnessed a massive, growing international migration over the last ten years. Migrants in the aftermath of the Syrian civil war ended up primarily in Europe in the most recent count, but before that fully one in five ended up in America, most coming from Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines.

Looking to the states, over a quarter of California’s population is now foreign born, as is over or near 20 percent in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Nevada. Foreign-born people now comprise about 40 percent of the residents in New York City and Los Angeles and a majority in Miami; at over 20 percent they are a strong presence in Chicago and Seattle.

Immigration is where globalization makes itself felt most directly, impacting the labor markets, demand on public services, and the mean- ing of citizenship. That is why Trump made immigration issue number one in his campaign, resisted any calls to help Dreamers or refugees, and proposed reducing legal immigration quotas.

Nonetheless, after Trump’s first year in office, the percentage of foreign born rose to its highest level since 2010, over 40 percent now from Asia. The number of undocumented immigrants dropped and net migration from Mexico was negative, yet the growing foreignness was just as important to his war on immigrants.

The Republican counterrevolution was also grounded in the decline of rural America and the growing dynamism of the metropolitan areas.

But no number of presidential trips to West Virginia, Montana, and Indiana will stall for a millisecond the growing movement of populations and the younger generations to the metropolitan areas across the country. The suburbs have grown 16 percent since 2000 and the cities by 13 percent, the rural areas by just three percent. Contributing signify to the metropolitan growth was the moving in of foreign-born migrants, five million to the suburbs and seven million to the urban areas.

Major businesses and people are moving into metropolitan areas and even into the inner cities, attracted by the urbanism, universities and research institutions, culture, and the growing immigrant and racial diversity—all the ingredients that stir the GOP’s counter-revolution.

President Trump embraced every emotive policy priority of the GOP’s evangelical base, but none of it would slow America’s growing secularism.

Every religious denomination is coping with drops in the number who are religiously observant, with the exception of the evangelicals. “No religion” is now the fastest growing faith in the religious census. More than one in five Americans identify as secular; they outnumber the mainline Protestants. The traditional family at the heart of the social conservative vision is giving way in the face of profound changes in marriage, child rearing, and women working to produce a growing pluralism of family types. Younger people are delaying marriage, having fewer children, and fewer are getting married at all. Barely half of American adults are married.

Three quarters of women are now in the labor force, and two thirds are the principal or co-breadwinner. Without much help from government for childcare, health care, or parental leave, working women put in a lot more hours than men doing childcare and household work.

White working-class men over the last three decades have struggled to get the jobs that would get them into the middle class, which previous generations could count on. They marry later, some not at all, or get divorced. Their incomes have gone down and many have withdrawn from the labor force—and that is before we get to those who succumb to drugs and have other issues.

So when Fox News commentators ask what family issue tops the public agenda, it is how you ensure pay equity for working women, not how you get back to a patriarchal family.

The triumph of the millennials is the last straw for the conservative agenda, and why it is so urgent the GOP stop the New America from governing. After all, millennials have displaced the baby boomers as the largest generation and will form 36 percent of the eligible voter population in 2020, 45 percent in 2024. And Generation Z, who were born after 1996 and were 13 to 21 years old in 2018, will be larger still, sealing the generational revolution.

If you want to see the changing face of America, look to the millennials. About 40 percent of millennials are racial minorities, and now 17 percent of their new marriages are interracial. Most describe President Obama as mixed race, not African-American or black. They just take for granted America’s multiculturalism. That attitude extends to gay marriage, supported by something near 80 percent of millennials.Two thirds of millennials with a four-year college degree have already moved to one of the 51 largest cities.

So Republican Congressman and white nationalist sympathizer Steve King could have been describing America at large when the new Congress convened in January 2019, the Democratic side of the House including a record number of women, African-Americans, and the first Muslim and Native American women, and he observed, “You look over there and think the Democratic Party is no country for white men.”

The New America Responds

As the GOP’s intensifying battle to keep the New America from governing became unabashedly anti-immigrant, racist, and sexist under President Trump’s leadership, the New America responded in real time.

Soon after Trump’s election, I discovered I could not put Clinton and Trump voters in the same room, because the Clinton, anti-Trump voter had become more vocal and assertive, sometimes disbelieving and rude. The same must have been happening across the country.

By the 70-day mark, the anti-Trump women pushed back against Trump voters in conversation, even when outnumbered in the room. The moderator had to make an effort to bring Trump voters into the conversation to ensure the outnumbered Clinton voters did not dominate the discussion and so the Trump voters could be heard. This turned out to be an unintended test of the strength of their views and resolve to resist.

Amazingly, at the seventy-day mark into the Trump presidency, the anti-Trump voters in these groups were bringing up the off-year elections to be held in 2018. Their doubts about Trump dominated their outlook, and they used words like “flabbergasted,” “devastated,” and “terrified” to describe how they felt about the country right now.

The Trump presidency so invaded the public’s consciousness that it was hard to talk to previously disengaged and unregistered unmarried women, people of color, and millennials without them going right to Trump.

They were being pulled into the political debate by members of their families who wanted them to pick a side. These were people who said they “are not interested in politics” and in the past, some avoided political decisions they didn’t feel informed enough to defend before their more passionate family members. Others, particularly the African-American men and women were “more likely to vote, now, because I hear my mom on my head about voting” (African-American woman, Detroit). The Hispanic women were most likely to say they were sharing information with their families and friends because “we don’t want to make the same mistake twice” (Hispanic millennial woman, Orlando).

This new engagement made itself felt first on immigration, where every Trump outrage increased the proportion of Americans who said, we are an immigrant country.

Voters do want the country to better manage immigration, but this stoking the anti-immigrant fire will end badly for Trump’s GOP. The proportion believing immigrants “strengthen the country with their hard work and talents” surged to 65 percent. Just as Trump was charging that immigrants fueled gangs and included murderers and rapists, the proportion who said immigrants “burden the country by taking jobs, housing, and health care” plummeted to just 26 percent in mid-2017. Three quarters in mid-2018 favored granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The country settled these issues. They are not contested.

America believes it is an immigrant country, but Trump’s election as an anti-immigrant candidate and his daily anti-immigrant provocations, unchallenged by his own party, made us all uncertain what Americans really believe. Well, individually, Americans recognize in larger numbers the benefits of immigration and, collectively, they have rushed to airports to protest the Muslim travel ban, to welcome refugees, and to protest babies being separated from their mothers at the Mexican border.

Suddenly, over 60 percent of Americans believe the battle for equal rights is unfinished. In 2014, 63 percent supported affirmative action programs to help blacks and minorities get to a university, but that grew to 71 percent in 2017. Trump’s counterrevolution is producing a counter-clarity for the changed America.

Acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage has reached the level of a norm, surging to 70 percent for homosexuality and 62 percent for gay marriage. Just a quarter of the country believes homosexuality should be “discouraged”—the core conviction of evangelical Republicans.

Three in five Americans consistently believe that stricter environmental regulations are worth the cost, and four in five believe there is “solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has gotten warmer.” Since the issue of climate change was broached at the beginning of the 2016 presidential election, that belief has jumped 13 points to 92 percent.

Republicans didn’t notice or care that two thirds of Americans believed “the economic system in this country unfairly favors powerful interests” and “economic inequality in the U.S.” is a very big or moderately big problem. Nearly 60 percent thought “business corporations make too much profit.”

Most telling was that at the beginning of 2018, as the Tea Party-dominated GOP made stopping government in its tracks its first mission, the proportion of people who wanted more government surged to its highest point in the twenty years of polling on this question by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

The GOP campaign against government has met its match in the New America.

From R.I.P. GOP by Stanley B. Greenberg. Copyright (c) 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press.




Headline Writers Must Have Worked Overtime On New ABC News/Washington Post Poll

Headline Writers Must Have Worked Overtime On New ABC News/Washington Post Poll

James Carville called me early this morning to talk about the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, reported under the banner, “Poll: Democrats’ advantage on key issues is not translating to a midterm-election edge.”

The headline writers must have worked overtime to get to the interpretation that Democrats cannot translate the current mood into election gains.

This is probably the worst example yet of the official narrative requiring great contortions to get to the conclusion that this will be a Republican year.

Their whole interpretation of the 2014 midterms and trends is based on the U.S. Senate preference of about half the sampled respondents who will choose senators in this off year. They show the Democrats trailing by 8 points, but that is less interesting or surprising when you note — as Kyle Kondik did for Sabato’s Crystal Ball —  that the Republican presidential candidates won these states by 7 points on average since 2000.

With that digression, the Washington Post minimized the following results:

Two-thirds of respondents said they will not re-elect their member of Congress — up 5 points in a month. And as we know, the majority of voters think Republicans are in control of the whole business.

On how issues will affect their vote, let’s start with the new health care law — the centerpiece of the GOP strategy. On the question of whether a candidate’s position on the Affordable Care Act would affect the vote of those surveyed, the Republicans have only a 2-point advantage (36 percent say they are less likely to vote for a member who supports the ACA, and 34 percent say they are more likely to vote for someone who supports the law). Just four months ago this same poll showed Republicans with a 16-point advantage on a slightly different ABC News/Washington Post question. Furthermore, by 44 to 36 percent, voters favor Democrats to handle health care in general.

By the way, if you want to see an issue that matters, check out their results on the minimum wage. That issue helps Democrats by 50 to 19 percent — respondents are a net 31 points more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage.

The Republicans have lost ground in particular on handling the economy, budget deficits, and immigration. Would that be every issue getting public attention?

Their poll is most stunning on the question they ask about each of the players: Are they “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today or out of touch”?  Nearly half, 48 percent, say both the president and the Democrats are in touch — an astonishing 20 points higher than the number saying that about the Republicans.

The pundits insist this is a Republican year. We doubt it.

Look at the Virginia gubernatorial election and the two state senate elections.  And let’s see what happens in Florida on Tuesday.

Forget The Conventional Wisdom: What The Numbers Really Say About President Obama

Forget The Conventional Wisdom: What The Numbers Really Say About President Obama

ABC News and the Washington Post have released a new poll indicating that the president is in trouble — and warn that both his standing and the Affordable Care Act hang over the 2014 elections. As ABC News’ Gary Langer put it: “Barack Obama starts his sixth year in office with the public divided about his overall leadership, dissatisfied with his economic stewardship and still steaming about his rollout of the health care law – all factors threatening not only the president but his party in the midterm elections ahead.

Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill write, “Obama’s general weakness and the overall lack of confidence in the country’s political leadership provide a stark backdrop to the beginning of a potentially significant election year.”

While the president surely needs to raise his standing and address many issues, this is a remarkably biased reading of their own poll. Too bad the last month has not fit the narrative of a failed president on a downward trajectory — like George W. Bush.

What is wrong with their interpretation?  It’s hard to know where to start.

  • They have the president’s approval rating at 46 percent. The average in all the polls is up, not down. Congressional Democrats would be quite content if the president’s approval rating were in the upper 40s. This is not a blip, but rather the trend based on multiple polls. Commentators should pay attention.
  • The congressional generic vote is even, but they failed to note that Republicans had taken the lead at the end last year — and that this is an improvement for Democrats.
  • Republicans in Congress are at a remarkable low, relative to the president and congressional Democrats. They are 18 points lower than the president on confidence and 8 points behind the Democrats in Congress. How could you ignore that in a congressional election year—especially when voters in this poll express a strong commitment to vote against incumbents? Did they pay attention to earlier polls from Democracy Corps that showed 50 percent (in an open-ended question) think Republicans are in control of the whole Congress?
  • Health care produced one of the more amazing contortions in the poll. They focus on Obama’s handling of the rollout and bury the fact that the country is evenly split on whether they favor or oppose the law. As we have said, the issue unites Republicans and is not a winning issue for them in 2014. Maybe the voters are paying attention to Congress’ failure to extend unemployment benefits and pass a minimum-wage bill— issues that have 60 percent support. Maybe there is a reason that Republicans’ standing continues to drag them down.

Many compare Obama’s number after his inauguration and make that the standard for his standing. He took a very hard hit that hurt Democrats. But his position is improving and health care is no wedge issue. The Congress is on the ballot in November, and I urge those reporting on polls to escape the conventional wisdom about the narrative.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

The Republican Party’s Historic Failure

The Republican Party’s Historic Failure

Recent polls tell a story about the political climate in America: People are furious with what the political class has done to this country. While voters are not thrilled with the Democratic Party and the president, they are particularly angry with the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP’s rapidly declining numbers are downright historic.

Our latest battleground poll confirms that an increasing number of Americans have incredibly negative, hostile views towards Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Congress. And in 2014, you can be sure that these voters will make themselves heard:

WATCH: The GOP Has A Brand Problem, And It’s Getting Worse

WATCH: The GOP Has A Brand Problem, And It’s Getting Worse

In our latest video, James and I discuss the challenges facing the Republican Party on the eve of critical debates over the budget and the debt ceiling. The Republican Party has a serious brand problem, and it keeps getting worse. The GOP is viewed unbelievably negatively, and even Republicans themselves agree that it is deeply divided.

Polls show the Republican brand problem manifesting itself in the Virginia gubernatorial race, and in Senate races across the country.  And if Republicans damage their brand even worse by shutting down the government, we think they could trigger a revolt that might even imperil their House majority in 2014:

Forget The Recovery: Obama Should Focus On Middle Class Challenges

Forget The Recovery: Obama Should Focus On Middle Class Challenges

President Obama must make a choice about which economic message he wants to present to the American people. The president is simultaneously pitching his excellent plan to help the struggling middle class, and trying to convince voters that the economy is in the middle of a robust recovery. But only one of those messages will resonate with working Americans.

The president must present a choice between progressives who want to address issues like rising inequality, and conservatives who don’t. Otherwise, we could be looking at a repeat of 2010:

Introducing The Republican Party Project

Introducing The Republican Party Project

Today James and I are releasing the first poll in the Republican Party Project: a look at who Republicans are, what drives them, why they can’t help but keep moving to the right, and why we need not retreat from their extremism.

Republicans seem to believe that they have a mandate for conservative government, but voters disagree. The GOP has grown progressively weaker since the Tea Party emerged in 2010 — and now is the time to fight back.

The results of the first national survey of the Republican Party Project can be seen here. For a closer look at the data, click here. You can read National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason’s analysis of the survey here.

Not So Fast: Battleground Poll Shows Republicans Vulnerable In 2014

Not So Fast: Battleground Poll Shows Republicans Vulnerable In 2014

bg poll

James and I have just released a new Congressional Battleground Poll. It’s the most important poll for us, because it’s the most unique; it’s the only poll out there that looks at the real congressional battleground, and it’s been pretty much on the mark, in every election cycle, in good and bad times for Democrats.

This poll surprised us. We had accepted that the presumption that reapportionment and an off-year electorate wouldn’t allow Democrats to have a shot at making gains in the 2014 midterms.  After seeing these results, we no longer think that’s true.

You should look closely at the poll that we’ve just done.  It included 1,250 interviews in 49 Republican seats and 31 Democratic seats. We polled with incumbents’ real names, and our sample is representative of an off-year electorate. The sample is 88 percent white, so it’s very conservative.

This poll says that after six months, the country may well have decided that what happens here and in this Congress does matter to them. Voters are smarter than pundits think.  They know that Republicans control the Congress — indeed, they are the Congress, according to this poll. And we see incumbent Republicans with just 43 percent support, with job approval numbers that are lower than or equal to any of the incumbents in all of the cycles we’ve polled in the past — including wave elections such as 2006, 2008, and 2010.

This poll indicates that the pundits and elite in Washington — including us — should start over with our presumptions.  We should not take for granted that the voters out there are not watching what’s happening here. They may well be reacting to what they are seeing. They don’t like the Tea Party, and that is as clear as can be.

We will come back and look at these seats again this year.  But we hope we can start a discussion, in which we say, “let’s look again and see whether this really is an election that can matter.” Because it very well might.

The full results of the Congressional Battleground Poll can be seen here.

How Democrats Can Win Back The House

How Democrats Can Win Back The House

In our latest video, James and I discuss the very real possibility that Americans will revolt against the Republican Party and deliver the House of Representatives to the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.  On each of the biggest issues of the day — from gun reform, to immigration, to the budget — Republicans are alienating key voters. But if Democrats want to take control of Congress, they must return to an issue that has disappeared since election night: the ongoing struggles of the middle class.

How Obama Nailed The State Of The Union

How Obama Nailed The State Of The Union

James, our panel of swing voters, and I all agree: President Obama gave a good speech on Tuesday night. The president was right to focus on the economy and the future of the middle class. By taking on the issues that matter to everyday Americans, he was able to not only shift the polling numbers — but to shift the agenda, from austerity to growth.


Entrenched And Angry, Defeated Republicans Threatening Government Shutdown

Entrenched And Angry, Defeated Republicans Threatening Government Shutdown

We now know exactly how badly the Republican Party lost the last election — with Nate Silver calculating President Obama’s popular vote margin at 3.85 percent  (razor-close to our Democracy Corps prediction of 3.8 percent.) They lost the electoral vote in a landslide, and came in behind Democrats in national congressional tallies as well. But the important point is not that they lost. It is that they still wield enormous power in Washington and in the states. Worse, their disconnection from the electorate only seems to have hardened their positions, as they challenge President Obama with a threat to shut down government.

Mitch McConnell Finally Shows His Hand

Mitch McConnell Finally Shows His Hand

Now that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has admitted what Republicans want in order to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” James and I propose a deal: Democrats will no longer talk about “revenue enhancements” and will instead call them “tax increases.” In exchange, Republicans can no longer talk about “entitlement reforms,” but must admit that they want to cut Medicare and Social Security. If we all start speaking honestly, the 2012 elections sent a very clear message about which side the American people prefer.

Why Obama Is Going To Win

Why Obama Is Going To Win

James and I are ready to put down our marker: President Obama is going to win re-election on Tuesday. Although many pundits are calling the race a tossup, our last national tracking survey shows the president clearly ahead. President Obama has all of the momentum, he holds leads in the key swing states, and he is on track to score a comfortable victory in the electoral college:


Sorry, Wrong Numbers: Why The Polls Don’t See Obama’s Winning Margin

Sorry, Wrong Numbers: Why The Polls Don’t See Obama’s Winning Margin

I’ve seen tracking polls saying that Mitt Romney is either tied or leading in the presidential race, but we think that they are simply wrong. It’s not a conspiracy theory; those other polls are just simply missing a critical segment of President Obama’s coalition: cellphone users. Failing to survey those who don’t have landlines — who tend to support the president by a significant margin —  those polls are blind to the fact that Obama is on track to win re-election on November 6. For our complete Democracy Corps memo on the importance of cellphone polling in this election — with graphs — please click here.

Obama Took On Romney — And Dominated

Obama Took On Romney — And Dominated

James and I think that President Obama did serious business at the presidential debate on Tuesday night. Not only did the president expose Mitt Romney’s one-point plan — to help the rich — but he also laid out his own set of serious ideas on how to grow the economy and create jobs:

Swing Voters Tell Us What Really Happened Last Night

Swing Voters Tell Us What Really Happened Last Night

While Mitt Romney performed well in the first presidential debate in Denver, the reactions of a group of 45 swing voters watching in Denver suggest that the underlying political fundamentals have not changed.

Working in partnership with the Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund, Democracy Corps asked those voters — including 16 unmarried women — to watch and respond as Romney dueled verbally with the President. Dial testing and post-debate discussion showed that the Republican nominee improved his personal appeal and gained ground on some issues.

Yet the Romney converts in the group were chiefly undecided voters who had been leaning Republican already — former McCain voters who had not yet warmed to this year’s GOP nominee. This wasn’t the game-changing moment that his campaign needs.

It is important to recognize that while we recruited swing voters for the WVWVAF-Democracy Corps focus group, most of the participants in the group reflected the remaining swing voters in much of the country. There were nearly twice as many Republican-leaning participants as Democratic-leaning participants—22 percent Democratic-leaning versus 42 percent Republican-leaning.  These participants voted for McCain by a nine-point margin in 2008.

Romney improved his personal appeal score in the group by 27 points, moving the needle most on “taxes,” the “economy” and being a “strong leader.”  In the dial tests, he impressed voters with his five-point economic plan, his promotion of small business, and his newfound commitment to bipartisanship.

“Romney cleared up a few things for me that I’d seen in commercials and hearsay,” said one participant. “It makes a lot more sense now.  The debate helped say he does know what is going on.”

And the President also had his moments.  His best moments in the dial tests came when he referred to the “Clinton model” and the former President’s job growth success, coupled with tax fairness.  Among unmarried women in particular, Obama’s promotion of community colleges and defense of Obamacare won him significant traction. “I like the whole community college aspect about Obama,” said one unmarried woman. “He has my best interests in heart.”

While Romney’s support grew, so did Obama’s. And all of Romney’s gains came from Republican-leaning undecided voters.  He did not move a single voter away from Obama.

Only 42 percent of the voters in this group concluded that Romney won the debate, no larger than the Republican lean of this small sample.  Nearly four in ten voters (38 percent) say neither candidate won the debate.

For all the data, see our numbers and analysis at Democracy Corps.

Photo by: Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

The ‘Private Moment’ That Defined The Race

The ‘Private Moment’ That Defined The Race

Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video will be remembered as the moment that defined this presidential race, turning voters against him and the Republican party once and for all. Romney’s repellent remarks were wrong on facts, wrong on values, and will cost him dearly among the broad group of Americans that he just wrote off so arrogantly.