News of Republican congressional candidates' "Pledge to America" has not broken though, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Only about a third of Americans are familiar with the new GOP document; fully two-thirds express no knowledge of the conservative framework that proposes to reduce the size of government and reform Congress.
In a memo sent out to candidates today, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich cites the Pledge as a central component to the GOP's closing argument in the campaign's final weeks.
Yet, only 37 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of conservatives say they've heard of the 21-page policy agenda, which was rolled out with some fanfare two weeks ago. More college educated Americans, 53 percent, are familiar with it.
In the fall of 1994, when Gingrich and congressional Republicans released the "Contract with America," an October Pew poll showed it registering with 29 percent of the country.
Overall, 23 percent of those now familiar with the pledge say it makes them more likely to support Republican candidates this fall; in fact, 29 percent say it will make them less likely, and 45 percent say it will make no difference in their vote.
Among partisans who have heard about the pledge, half of Republicans say it will make them more likely to vote Republican, while nearly the same proportion of Democrats say it will make them less likely to support the GOP. About half of independents, 51 percent, who have heard about the pledge say it won't make a difference to their vote, with the rest tilting negative (30 percent are less apt to vote GOP as a result; 17 percent moreso).
Even half of those Americans who have heard of the Pledge and who think the stimulus spending was wasted say the conservative framework will have no impact on their vote in November.
Q. Did you happen to hear about Republican congressional candidates signing something called a "Pledge to America" that pledges them to keep certain campaign promises if they are elected, or haven't you heard about this?
Heard Didn't hear No opin. All 34 66 * Republicans 37 63 * Conservatives 35 64 * College grad 53 47 *
Q. Does this pledge make you more likely to vote for Republican candidates this fall, less likely to vote for Republican candidates this fall, or doesn't it matter to you?
Asked of those aware of the Pledge
More Less Doesn't matter No opinion All 23 29 45 3 Republicans 50 2 47 1 Democrats 9 52 33 6 Independents 17 30 51 1 Stimulus wasted 32 15 50 2