Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peak denial?

The Dish points to new polling:

They only have 33 percent national favorable ratings, which means Independents have all but abandoned the brand. That 33 percent is statistically indistinguishable from the Tea Party, because most people recognize there is no difference between the two. The GOP hasn't been this unpopular since the CNN polls started measuring these things in 1992. They are now regarded less favorably than they were when Obama was elected! 66 percent of non-whites view the GOP unfavorably, alongside 64 percent of Independents. 57 percent of Independents want their own congressman to be thrown out at the next election.

The Tea Party's unfavorables, meanwhile, have doubled in the last eight months.

While the Democrats have been disappointing on climate change, it is the Republican base, and especially the Tea Party fringe, that has embraced climate denial. The "Six Americas" polling reflects this strongly: 42% of "dismissives" (climate deniers) consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, compared to just 10% of the general public. Two percent -- two percent -- of climate deniers are Democrats. Eighty-four percent of deniers identify as conservative, compared to only 3% who identify as liberals.

So the self-immolation of the Christianist, pro-default, anti-EPA, pro-tax-cut and anti-Medicare right is a piece of unqualified good news. It's long been clear that there's no persuading the core of the anti-science movement -- they are fanatics on a crusade. Therefore the best outcome we can hope for is that they become isolated from the other 90% of the public, their views stigmatized, their support shunned.

Harsh, maybe, but this is how social debates work: you pull people out of the middle to your side, and without them, the people on the edges are toothless. And it certainly helps if your opponents sound and act as crazy as a truck of bedbugs.

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