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Brendan Nyhan

Brendan Nyhan

Posted: October 2, 2009 02:37 PM
Read More: Pollster , Politics News

Josh Tucker (a political scientist at NYU) emails to ask if there are significant regional differences in the data on the state of the GOP brand that I blogged about yesterday.

Tucker, like many other bloggers, was struck by a chart created by Steve Benen highlighting differences a September Daily Kos poll found in views of the Republican Party by region: R2K_GOP

As a point of comparison, I checked both the May 1993 Pew poll featured yesterday and a CBS/New York Times poll from late 1994 and there weren't huge regional differences in Republican favorability between the South and the rest of the country. The same applied in a 2006 CBS/NYT poll.

The Pew poll I blogged about yesterday (the Religion & Public Life Survey) isn't available online, but I checked several recent survey questions about the GOP image for which raw data is available in the Roper Center database. The 2009 survey that most closely replicates the Kos question about views of "Republicans in Congress" (a CBS poll) shows a smaller difference between the South and other regions, though it was conducted in March: Cbs09

In addition, two other surveys asking closely related questions about approval of Republicans in Congress and views of the Republican Party show no obvious divergence between the South and the rest of the country: Usat09

One objection is that the CBS and USA Today/Gallup polls took place before the anti-Obama backlash had gotten underway. However, the CNN poll above was conducted July 31-August 3 and shows relatively similar views of the Republican Party by region.

There are important cultural and political differences between the South and the rest of the country, but those differences may be less dramatic than the Kos question suggests. It would be useful if other polls could break out their results by region to see if the Kos finding holds more generally.

(Cross-posted on


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