Just yesterday, I wrote HERE that this year’s presidential election won’t likely be as close as most pundits are predicting.
One such pundit is Charlie Cook, an analyst whose work I’ve always admired. I don’t agree with the upshot of Cook’s LATEST COLUMN, wherein he predicts a close race, but I find this passage about a recent poll especially interesting:
Republicans should be concerned that 29 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, because only 22 percent of them said they were Republican. When independents are pushed to lean one way or the other, Democrats pick up another 15 points and Republicans gain 14 points. The result is 44 percent identifying themselves or leaning Democrat compared with 36 percent identifying as or leaning toward the GOP; 11 percent identified themselves as pure independents, not leaning either way; and another 4 percent either refused to say or didn’t know, bringing the total in the middle to 15 percent.
Starting with 44 percent, Democrats need to win the support of only about half of the 15 percent in the middle. Republicans, coming from a much smaller share of the independent and nonaligned slice of voters to win, need all 15 percent to reach a majority. In short, it’s a lot more important for Republicans to extend beyond their base than it is for Democrats.