News from Planet WTF

I saw this courtesy of Peter Daou (on Twitter), who called it "scary", earlier today:
Likely voters in battleground districts see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP.

This result comes from The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, which found that 44 percent of likely voters say the Democratic Party is more dominated by its extreme elements, whereas 37 percent say it’s the Republican Party that is more dominated by extremists.


The polling firm Penn, Schoen and Berland conducted the survey, contacting 4,047 likely voters by phone between Oct. 2 and Oct. 7. The margin of error for this sample is 1.5 percent.

More than one in every five Democrats (22 percent) in The Hill’s survey said their party was more dominated than the GOP by extreme views. The equivalent figure among Republicans is 11 percent.

Results for independent voters reflected the larger sample. Forty-three percent of likely independent voters said the Democratic Party is more dominated by its extreme elements, compared to 37 percent who thought the GOP had fallen under the sway of extreme views.

The figures by party do come with one caveat: Because the voter sampling size is smaller, the margin of error by party is 4.5 percent.
Ok, I know...polls (and it's The Hill). But still. What the hell? The Democratic Party is "more dominated than the GOP by extreme views"? What? Did they forget to finish that statement with ".... more dominated than the GOP by extreme views because they're so like the GOP and not like Democrats at all"? Who are these "extremists"?

The article notes that this suggests an image problem of being seen as "too liberal". Have they been listening to Shields and Brooks?
[P]olling data from congressional districts in Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington state, West Virginia and Wisconsin show that Democratic leaders are having trouble convincing voters that the GOP is more extreme.
Just...what? How is that even possible?

Markos has a theory:

Liberal Democrats say that Fox News, Glenn Beck and other conservative broadcasters who frequently criticize Obama, Reid and Pelosi as extremists have an enormous influence on public opinion.

“Democrats haven't nominated anyone like Sharron Angle or Rand Paul or Christine O'Donnell or Rob Johnson or Joe Miller for Senate seats, much less the myriad of wackos in House races across the country,” said Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of Daily Kos, one of the nation’s largest liberal blogs. “We don't have media figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh calling the shots for our party.

“But they have built their alternate world courtesy of Fox News, thus making them impervious to reality. Is that a problem? Sure. Even more so when Democrats think they can reason with this crowd,” said Moulitsas, a contributing columnist for The Hill.
I think Markos has a point, to a degree. Media like Fox and their hateful talking heads certainly make a lot of noise--and many people listen to that noise. This country seems to have drifted "right"ward, given how many people actually take it seriously--see it as a reasonable accusation--when Obama is called a socialist. He's a centrist, milquetoast Democrat. He's not a freaking socialist! However, a lot of people really seem to believe that some centrist positions are socialist (and un-American, to boot).

Just when I didn't think the article could be want to make me hit my head against a wall more, it reports:
The survey also showed that a majority of Democratic voters want their representatives in Congress to work harder to achieve compromise with Republicans.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats said they would urge the lawmaker they supported to “look for compromises across the aisle”; only 35 percent would rather urge their representatives to “stay firm on their principles.”
WHAT? Why?

The article points out that when talking about individual policy issues (health care, taxes), a majority of Dems don't want compromise, they want progress. Yet taken as a whole, many urge for compromise. It also notes that Republicans, however, would urge their reps to stand on principles. Compromise is not anything they particularly care for. Which...duh. That's obvious. What the hell, Dems? I don't just mean the elected officials, I mean people like those polled. What the hell? I don't get it. Why are so many calling for bipartipoop and so few for "standing firm on principles". Aren't those principles connected, in some way, to why you voted for someone?

Yes, Peter. I agree: scary.

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