The Washington Post

The Republican brand problem, part 231

The Republican party continues to struggle to re-make its brand.  While parts of the GOP establishment are pushing hard for the party to move toward the ideological middle on things like gay marriage and immigration, significant resistance remains within the party's rank and file.

An elephant. You get the idea.

Take the national political conversation over the past 10 days as an example of the continued brand issues. Thanks to the good folks at TargetPoint Consulting, a GOP political firm, we can see how the two parties' brands have worn over that time. (TargetPoint has developed some amazing technology that allows them to measure not just mentions of a particular subject in the public arena but also the sentiment attached to that subject. Read more about their National Dialogue Monitor here.)

Here's the GOP's problem: The party was mentioned almost 200,000 times more than were Democrats but those mentions were far more likely to be tied to negative sentiment.

Gun control and immigration were the two biggest topics of conversation tied to the GOP over the past ten days and both had strong negative sentiment attached to them.  And, on subjects like gay marriage, abortion and taxes, sentiment was negative for Republicans and positive for Democrats -- data that points to the Republic brand issue.

The chart detailing the TargetPoint findings is below. The bigger the bubble, the more often a topic is talked about. The more red, the more negative the sentiment. The more green, the more positive. Click on the chart to see it in larger form.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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