No Comment — October 16, 2009, 4:51 pm

Delusional in Dixie

It’s widely accepted wisdom in Washington these days that the Republican brand is tarnished. But what’s striking is the regional variation. In the last fifteen years, although there has been some difference between G.O.P. approval and Democratic approval across the country, the variation has been pretty modest. That’s not the case right now. In the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the Republicans struggle to climb out of the cellar. But in the states of the old Confederacy, the G.O.P. is doing just fine. Here’s a graph by Steve Benen showing the differences based on a September Daily Kos poll.

gop-brand-by-region

Does this mean that the party of “no,” now widely associated with tea-baggers, birthers, deathers, and efforts to label Obama simultaneously “fascist” and “socialist,” has scored in the South, while damaging its reputation elsewhere? That’s what at least one statewide poll suggests. The Nashville Post reports on a new poll of Tennesseeans completed by Middle Tennessee State University. It’s a real eye-opener:

  • 34% of respondents and 47% of Republicans are “birthers”—they believe that President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States
  • 30% of respondents and 48% of Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 35% of respondents and 55% of Republicans believe that Obama intends to take their guns away
  • 46% of respondents and 71% of Republicans believe that Obama is a socialist

I’d bet that these folks don’t spend much time tracking the news, but if they do, no doubt they’re watching Fox. Reading these polls in conjunction suggests that the Republican brand is doing just fine in Dixie, and it’s lined up with some seriously delusional ideas.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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