Blogger poll: Stupak amendment hurts Dems. Dems need to motivate base; Repubs need outreach to independents

This week’s National Journal poll of political bloggers asked “Would Democrats be helped or hurt politically if Congress enacts health care reform legislation containing abortion restrictions similar to those passed by the House?” On the Left, 79% said “hurt,” while the Right was fairly closely split between “helped,” “hurt,” and “not much impact.” I voted for “hurt,” but thought it was a close call: “In pro-life districts, it’s a tremendous boon to Dems who voted for the Stupak amendment, proving to voters that the local Dems are not controlled by the party’s bicoastal pro-choice leaders. In pro-choice districts, however, Stupak’s effects on abortion coverage in private insurance may make a lot of people very unhappy. On the whole, a net loss for Dems because Stupak is a huge win for the pro-life side, which is a bad long-term sign for a party which, at the national level, is officially pro-choice.”

Question two was “In light of the off-year election results, what’s the bigger political priority for the Democratic/Republican Party right now?” Eighty-six percent of the Left said that motivating the base should be the biggest Democratic priority. Sixty-seven percent of the Right said that the biggest Republican priority should be winning independents. I volunteered the Republicans need to do both: “As C.S. Lewis once remarked about the faith vs. works debate: ‘It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary.’ Winning parties motivate their base and win independents — as McDonnell and Christie both did.”

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