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Republican Party Project
Memo to Establishment: Pay attention to this new report on the Republican Party
Thursday, June 12 2014

The defeat of Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor has prompted us to release this new and updated, full report of Democracy Corps' Republican Party Project.  The focus groups were conducted and reported last summer; the latest survey interviews were conducted in May and include results on immigration measures.  

The Republican establishment and commentators should pay attention because they have entirely misread the primary battles, the strength of different camps, and indeed, the key groups and the issues that animate them.

The engaged core of the Republican Party is comprised of Evangelicals and Tea Party Supporters who form 54 percent of the GOP base. Another 15 percent are deeply observant and predominantly Catholic.  

They had their say when Dave Brat defeated Eric Cantor this week. Brat’s attack on Cantor as “the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for Amnesty” was surely a factor — as the GOP establishment will probably pay much closer attention to the strong views on immigrants expressed in this report.  For the core of the party, allowing the undocumented, mostly Hispanics, off the hook is a deep offense, rewarding the most irresponsible.

But Brat was also a Christian conservative who described his victory as “a gift from God,” an easy identity not available to Eric Cantor in this rural, non-cosmopolitan district.  

The GOP establishment has prevailed in these party battles when they fully embrace the Evangelicals and Observant who form almost half the party.  That may explain why the party has become even more vocal and active fighting abortion this year.  But the GOP Establishment did not prevail in Texas and may not in Mississippi where the Tea Party-Evangelical majority may have its way.  

Pay attention to this report’s findings on climate change.  There is a reason why Republican candidates are rushing to repudiate the latest US and UN assessments on global warming.  

 

GOP Composition of Key Groups

 
Inside the GOP: Why Boehner is Halting Immigration Reform
Friday, February 07 2014

Just a year ago, the GOP appeared poised to re-brand itself as a more moderate and inclusive party.  When the party released its “post-mortem” report on the 2012 election, one of the key findings was that the Republican Party “must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform."   And if you look at the numbers—demographic data and opinion surveys—you would say they were right. 

So why did Speaker Boehner put a halt to any immigration reform yesterday?  If you want to understand it, or fully capture the context for Rep. Labrador’s widely-reported belief that “it’s a mistake for us to have an internal battle in the Republican Party this year about immigration reform,” you need to get inside the base of the Republican Party.

Support for immigration reform among all voters remains high—last week’s CNN/ORC poll found that 54 percent of adults nationwide would support a plan to allow those already in the country to become legal residents.  Add to that employment, fluency in English, and back taxes, and support jumps to 81 percent.

But if you look at how this issue breaks down by party, just a third (34 percent) of Republicans say we should create a way to accommodate those already here.  By contrast, 55 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats believe there should be a way for those already here to become legal residents.  The problem lies within the Republican Party—that same survey found just 29 percent of Tea Party supporters favor a path to legal residency. 

Last summer, we conducted a major national survey and 6 focus groups among members of the Republican Party.  What we found made us skeptical that House Republicans would take any action on immigration reform in the near future.   

Why? Click here to find out

 

Read more... [Inside the GOP: Why Boehner is Halting Immigration Reform]
 
Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans
Thursday, October 03 2013
Attachments:
Download this file (dcor rpp fg memo 100313 final.pdf)Memo[ ]1248 Kb

If you want to understand the government shutdown and crisis in Washington, you need to get inside the base of the Republican Party.  That is what we are doing in the Republican Party Project and these focus groups with Evangelicals, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans.  All the passion, nuances and divisions found expression when we conducted this work in the summer.

Read more... [Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and moderate Republicans]
 
Mapping the Republican Brain
Tuesday, September 17 2013
Attachments:
Download this file (dcor.rpp.memo.091713.web.pdf)Memo[RPP Factor Analysis Memo September 2013]486 Kb

The Republican Party is descending into unchartered realms of unpopularity with the country, even as its deepening divisions leave it immobilized in the face of doomsday budget deadlines.[1] If you want to know why Speaker Boehner has appealed to Democrats for help, you need go no further than the three ascendant blocs of Evangelicals, Tea Party supporters, and moderates that we described in our first Republican Party Project report last month.[2]

Read more... [Mapping the Republican Brain]
 
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