Hardball | December 13, 2012
>>> been saying for a while that the republican party has an image problem, a reputation problem. now new numbers from the nbc/" wall street journal " poll just out prove the point. the democratic party 's favorable number is now 44%, and the overall favorable is plus nine. in other words, better positive than negative. the republicans have a 30% favorable right now. that's pretty bad. a negative 15 if you subtract the bad from the good. it gets worst. a word cloud showing the most commonly used words to describe the party , bad, weak, negative. with other words like uncompromising, broken, and out of touch rounding out the top terms. joining me again chuck todd our holdover from na segment, nbc news political director and host of "the daily rundown" and "the washington post 's" chris cillizza . back to you, chuck, for this question. let's just be, as you always are, but i'll be as well, totally analytical, what has skunked the republican name in this country in the last several months more than any time before? what's wrong?
>> well, what's wrong is you've got to realize it's not been several months, it's been several years. the trend data is unmistakable. this is basically been in the wrong direction for the republican party going back to 2005 . they've had a small blip in 2010 when they won control and the president was pushing an unpopular health care bill. that was their moment that they were able to get power again, get back into government, but if you look back, this has been a five-year trend of a very slow erosion, and by the way, you don't just see it in polling. if you look over the last ten years, but particularly the last six years, in exit polling and people who self-identify with the republican party , there has been a slow percentage over time that trended down. i think that this is a party that is simply -- i thought somebody really put it well, conservatives said the biggest problem with the party isn't necessarily that it is too conservative. it's that it's out of touch. you can be conservative and in touch. conservative and relevant, and they're coming across as not relevant. i think whether it's with hispanics , whether it's with women, where the conservatism and there's too many voices dominating on the wrong side and giving the party brand a bad name. look at it, the party brand , i have always believed, mitt romney could have been ronald reagan , but the party brand was in worse shape than when reagan ever ran. i have always thought there was a 50-pound weight mitt romney was dragging around.
>> let's go through them. apparently they're not popular with hispanics , with sue sur ban women, not with younger voters under 35, not with even white independent voters which surprises me. what do you make of that? all these negatives.
>> you just outlined sort of the future swing vote for the 2016 and 2020 election. i mean, look --
>> young people will get older and they will vote.
>> suburban women, that's a there's where republicans have to do better. white voters in general, white independents. this is the problem, chris . it's across the board, and that's why it's not just -- chuck rightly points out, it's not just an election, it's not just a candidate. you're making a mistake if you're saying this is about mitt romney . not really. this is about the fate of a republican brand . chuck mentioned 2010 . i look at 2010 , 2010 almost in retrospect looks like a false positive . i think a lot of republicans thought, okay, we got beaten bad in '06, beaten bad in '08 and they thought maybe now is the time to reform the party . then '10 comes along and they win everything and they say people do like the republican but -- no, it's just in a binary choice election if you decide you don't want what the democratic brand is currently offering you go with the republican brand . 24e don't love the republican brand and haven't for a while.
>> the importance, chuck, and you're the expert as well as chris , the importance of hispanic voters, the sporns of younger voters is they don't all vote in midterm elections but in a general election for president, you have all of a sudden all the neg at thises in the republican party wlos soming into the most important things in the party . so it's position against legalization of people that have been here a while, its position on abortion rights , all the issue that is affect young people , all the issues that are salient with minorities and young people they're wrong on.
>> chris , here is the thing. if they just sit here and say, i have heard this from some republicans , you know what? we'll be fine in 2014 , you know, because turnout won't be the same, it will be a better electorate, but you know what? over time that electorate is going to change, too. it takes a little bit longer but we saw evidence of that. harry reid is still a united states senator because the electorate has changed in nevada even in a midterm. michael bennett is now a full term united states senator because the electorate changed in colorado even in a midterm. so this stuff, it is -- you're just suddenly protecting shrinking and shrinking turf. they do have to come to realize, and i think that that's -- that's what's going to make, prince, watching the immigration debate -- i somehow believe republicans are going to go en masse but maybe they won't. if it ends up being more divisive and ends up being harder to get done and the republican brand is sullied even more with hispanics they could lose a whole generation.
>> just to make the point, a new study released by a prominent republican pollster shows the republican party is in big trouble . quote, republicans have run out of persuadable white voters for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections . republicans lost the popular vote . trying to win a national election by gaining a larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate is a losing political proposition.
>> mitt romney won the white vote by 20 points. 59/39 he won the white vote by 20 points because he won vote whose said the economy was most important issue. he won political independents, and he still lost convincingly. i would add to the five out of six popular vote , it's amazing. in the 1980s democrats always worried and they said, republicans have a lock on the electoral college . reagan won twice with over 500 electoral votes . h.w. bos h.w. bush won in '88. the ceiling in electoral college is probably the 286 bush got. new mexico, colorado, montana, if those states start to be swing states or go to the democratic side, it's not even the popular vote , it's the electoral college .
>> i have to use a philadelphia reference here, growing up frank rizzo needed to win 87% of the white vote because that was his strength. he got 83%. got to the point where you almost had to get 90% of the white vote to survive politically and it --
>> by the way, in order to do -- in order to accomplish that, you know what kind of campaign you have to run? that's not a way to govern. when it's over, if you happen to win under that circumstance where you create a racially polarizing environment, ethnic callie polarizing environment then good luck governing.
>> if you had a nightstick in your cup ber bun.
>>> coming up, santa claus takes on paul ryan next in the "sideshow." this is "hardball," the place for politics. [