It has always been somewhat inconsistent that the heartland would vote Republican, generally voting against their interests. Regardless of whether this makes sense, this has become accepted as reality. It was no surprise to find that Republican support has fallen in the Northeast. More disturbing for Republicans is their loss of support in the heartland, as reviewed by David Broder:
What I heard here — and in subsequent interviews at the National Governors Association convention in Charleston, S.C. — from one Republican after another signaled serious trouble for the GOP across a broad swath of states from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma in key midterm election contests for House, Senate and governor.
The impression these Republicans had is that support for GOP candidates had nose-dived this summer — in part because of the chaos conveyed by the daily televised scenes of destruction in Iraq and Lebanon and in part because of the dismal reputation built by the Republican Congress that is home to many of the endangered GOP candidates.
After the 2000 election, the current red vs. blue state alignment became firmly entrenched in everyone’s mind, especially as the 2004 election was fought over similar battle lines. It has quickly been forgotten that prior to 2000 states divided differently and there was no reason to believe the 2000 battle lines were permanent. The Republicans are in danger of becoming a southern regional party which has difficulty winning beyond the south. This is something to keep in mind when looking at 2008 contenders. The conventional wisdom that Democrats need a southern candidate to win may no longer hold. Instead the best choice may be a candidate who can do well in the traditional blue states plus the midwest.
Update: Blue Crab Boulevard isn’t worried since a poll which shows Republcan support falling 53% total Democrats as opposed to 39% Republicans. They see this as a skewed sample. Perhaps, but more likely this is a sign that Republican support has fallen. If support for Republicans has fallen it only makes sense that far fewer people will identify themselves as Republicans.
Of course they are welcome to remain over confident and ignore warnings such as in this article. During 2004, Daily Kos regularly posted claims that polls were oversampling Republicans and that Kerry was really leading despite what the pre-election polls showed. Many believed this, leading to considerable in fighting as some Democrats were misled to believe Kerry lost a race he should have won easily. It’s fine with me if the conservative bloggers want to ignore the problems they face now. Hopefully they will even react as irrationally as some liberal bloggers did after an unexpected loss.