The Breitbart News Network/Judicial Watch post-election survey released today is a warning to those who have argued, in the wake of the 2012 election, that the way for the Republican Party to broaden its appeal is to compromise on core principles of limited government and the rule of law.
For example, many pundits–including some conservatives–have argued that Republicans should embrace “amnesty” on immigration as a way of reversing the party’s decline among the growing Latino voting population. Yet the pundits are making their proclamations without any data to support them.
The Breitbart News/Judicial Watch survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, revealed that:
- 71% of voters agree that big government leads to corruption, and 85% of voters are concerned about corruption, but voters do not trust either party to clean up Washington
- 77% of voters believe the media was biased in favor of one candidate
- 61% of voters embrace Arizona-style immigration laws, including 40% of Hispanics
- 76% of voters–and a majority within EVERY minority group–favor photo ID for voting
In short, voters agree with many conservative positions on policy and governance, but do not trust either party to enact them.
The Republican Party in particular failed to make the case–and to turn out the vote–in 2012.
The Breitbart News/Judicial Watch survey did not focus on social issues. However, a larger data pool collected by Public Opinion Strategies reveals that Mitt Romney won a higher percentage of the pro-choice vote than President Barack Obama did of the pro-life vote.
The Democrats’ campaign on social issues was not aimed at winning over independents, who narrowly favored Romney in the election, but at motivating the party’s base–and at maximizing damage to the Republican Party’s image and message.
The conclusion to be drawn is that the Republican Party’s problem is not where it stands on the issues, but its popular image, its past record, and its ability to compete for votes and support.
That data-driven conclusion–rather than the compromises offered by pundits on the party’s behalf–should guide discussions about the future.