Rasmussen: 'Reaganism isn't dead'

This is news that should give heart to conservatives if not the entire nation.

Ronald Reagan may be dead. His revolution, betrayed. His policies about to be reversed.  But the American people still identify with his principles as well as some of his big ideas.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen writing in the Wall Street Journal:

During Reagan's campaign, the nation suffered from high unemployment and high inflation. This time around, data from the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed that Mr. Obama took command of the race during the 10 days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers -- when the Wall Street meltdown hit Main Street. Before that event John McCain was leading nationally by three percentage points. Ten days later Mr. Obama was up by five and never relinquished his lead.

Mr. Obama's tax-cutting message played a key role in this period of economic anxiety. Tax cuts are well-received at such times: 55% of voters believe they are good for the economy. Only 19% disagree and see them as bad policy.

Down the campaign homestretch, Mr. Obama's tax-cutting promise became his clearest policy position. Eventually he stole the tax issue from the Republicans. Heading into the election, 31% of voters thought that a President Obama would cut their taxes. Only 11% expected a tax cut from a McCain administration.

Obama actually aped Mr. Reagan's electoral strategy; take one or two big ideas and repeat them until the people identify you with those ideas. Obama took the idea of cutting everyone's taxes (even those who don't pay any) and rode that pony all the way to the Oval Office.


Beyond that, I found this set of responses from Rasmusen fascinating:

A Rasmussen survey conducted Oct. 2 found that 59% agreed with the sentiment expressed by Reagan in his first inaugural address: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Just 28% disagreed with this sentiment. That survey also found that 44% of Obama voters agreed with Reagan's assessment (40% did not). And McCain voters overwhelmingly supported the Gipper.

The real challenge for the new president will be attempting to govern with a message that resonates with most voters but divides his own party. Consider that 43% of voters view it as a positive to describe a candidate as being like Reagan, while just 26% consider it a negative. Being compared to Reagan rates higher among voters than being called "conservative," "moderate," "liberal" or "progressive." Except among Democrats, that is. Fifty-one percent of Democrats view that Reagan comparison as a negative. There's Mr. Obama's dilemma in a nutshell.

Understandably, Obama is apparently seeking to invoke the ghost not of Reagan but of Democratic saint FDR when describing his program. But there are certainly  hints of  The Gipper in his style and rhetoric. It is generally a rule in American politics that the most optimistic candidate wins. And while Obama was nothing if not negative about the present, his rhetoric played very deliberately to the idea of American exceptionalism in that he instilled a sense of hope and optimism in his supporters and in many voters.

Will Reaganism show the way back for Republicans? Probably not in the specific sense that trying to run as Reagan will  be a winning strategy. But judging from Rasmussen's numbers, there is still a great wellspring of good feelings about The Gipper and tapping into that could help considerably.


This is news that should give heart to conservatives if not the entire nation.

Ronald Reagan may be dead. His revolution, betrayed. His policies about to be reversed.  But the American people still identify with his principles as well as some of his big ideas.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen writing in the Wall Street Journal:

During Reagan's campaign, the nation suffered from high unemployment and high inflation. This time around, data from the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed that Mr. Obama took command of the race during the 10 days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers -- when the Wall Street meltdown hit Main Street. Before that event John McCain was leading nationally by three percentage points. Ten days later Mr. Obama was up by five and never relinquished his lead.

Mr. Obama's tax-cutting message played a key role in this period of economic anxiety. Tax cuts are well-received at such times: 55% of voters believe they are good for the economy. Only 19% disagree and see them as bad policy.

Down the campaign homestretch, Mr. Obama's tax-cutting promise became his clearest policy position. Eventually he stole the tax issue from the Republicans. Heading into the election, 31% of voters thought that a President Obama would cut their taxes. Only 11% expected a tax cut from a McCain administration.

Obama actually aped Mr. Reagan's electoral strategy; take one or two big ideas and repeat them until the people identify you with those ideas. Obama took the idea of cutting everyone's taxes (even those who don't pay any) and rode that pony all the way to the Oval Office.


Beyond that, I found this set of responses from Rasmusen fascinating:

A Rasmussen survey conducted Oct. 2 found that 59% agreed with the sentiment expressed by Reagan in his first inaugural address: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Just 28% disagreed with this sentiment. That survey also found that 44% of Obama voters agreed with Reagan's assessment (40% did not). And McCain voters overwhelmingly supported the Gipper.

The real challenge for the new president will be attempting to govern with a message that resonates with most voters but divides his own party. Consider that 43% of voters view it as a positive to describe a candidate as being like Reagan, while just 26% consider it a negative. Being compared to Reagan rates higher among voters than being called "conservative," "moderate," "liberal" or "progressive." Except among Democrats, that is. Fifty-one percent of Democrats view that Reagan comparison as a negative. There's Mr. Obama's dilemma in a nutshell.

Understandably, Obama is apparently seeking to invoke the ghost not of Reagan but of Democratic saint FDR when describing his program. But there are certainly  hints of  The Gipper in his style and rhetoric. It is generally a rule in American politics that the most optimistic candidate wins. And while Obama was nothing if not negative about the present, his rhetoric played very deliberately to the idea of American exceptionalism in that he instilled a sense of hope and optimism in his supporters and in many voters.

Will Reaganism show the way back for Republicans? Probably not in the specific sense that trying to run as Reagan will  be a winning strategy. But judging from Rasmussen's numbers, there is still a great wellspring of good feelings about The Gipper and tapping into that could help considerably.