Andrew Kohut: Right to Blame for GOP Image Problems

Monday, 25 Mar 2013 11:28 AM

By Dan Weil

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The Republican Party has moved itself so far to the right that it’s losing relevance with voters, says Andrew Kohut, former president of the Pew Research Center.

“In my decades of polling, I recall only one moment when a party had been driven as far from the center as the Republican Party has been today,” he writes in The Washington Post.

That was the late 1960s to early ’70s, when the Democrats were influenced by left-wing Sens. Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. Theirs was known as the party of “acid, abortion, and amnesty,” notes Kohut, who also was formerly the president of the Gallup Organization.

“While there are no catchy phrases for the Republicans of 2013, their image problems are readily apparent in national polls,” he says. “The GOP has come to be seen as the more extreme party, the side unwilling to compromise or negotiate seriously to tackle the economic turmoil that challenges the nation.”

The dominance of the right wing has clearly hurt the GOP’s popularity, Kohut notes. A Pew Research Center poll last month showed the party’s favorability ratings have dropped to a 20-year low.

Only 33 percent of Americans view Republicans favorably, while 58 percent view them unfavorably. As for the Democrats, 47 percent have a favorable view of the party and 46 an unfavorable view.

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