Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Poke in the Eye

Silver puts polls, approval, and party ID together -- with his trademark mathematical wit -- into a final farewell to the "bipartisan" bullshit:

Basically, I think Obama needn't spend a great deal of time worrying about his approval ratings among Republicans, and particularly among conservative Republicans. In the first place, it is probably inevitable that he will lose their support -- no matter how "bipartisan" his behavior. In the second, because there are so few Republican voters left, he doesn't really require the support of very many of them to maintain an impressive electoral coalition.

Now, that doesn't mean that Obama should poke needles in the Republicans' eyes at every opportunity -- and he certainly can't afford to lose the support of substantial numbers of independents and conservative Democrats. Nor should he assume -- as I think certain liberal blogs are making the mistake of assuming -- that there has been some sort of paradigm shift in the American electorate. We know that most Americans are sick and tired of Republican ideas and are eager to pursue some different ones. But we don't know whether this shift is permanent or temporary, nor how robust it will be in the face of the trials and tribulations that the new president will inevitably face.
Okay, just a few needles.

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