Does the GOP have just five red states left?

Gallup says the Republican Party is now in such dire straits that it can depend on only a handful of states.

Published January 29, 2009 6:55PM (EST)

Take a look at the map below, which was produced by Gallup based on an aggregation of data the pollster collected during the 2008 cycle. If you're a Republican, it's not a pretty picture. 29 states are described as solidly Democratic, along with the District of Columbia. Another six states lean Democratic. Meanwhile, only four are solidly Republican, while one other leans that way. All of the gray states on the map are what Gallup calls "competitive," meaning that partisan advantage is less than five points in either direction. And you'll notice that states that are key to Republican electoral success, like Texas, are gray.

This is most likely not the kind of thing that gets fixed easily. But the GOP is acting like that's not the case. In describing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's take on the state of his party, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder wrote up a good post on this map: 

McConnell subscribes to what might be called the "sales job" theory of Democratic dominance. That is -- the message is fine; the techniques used to communicate it are not. The "sales job" theory is quite attractive to many Republicans because it relieves them of having to question whether Americans, at their corps (sic), are beginning to distrust what the party stands for, what the party does, who the party is. What a relief! All that's need[ed] are some cosmetics... McConnell's view is shared by many Republican current office-holders. It is not the view that Republican strategists tend to hold...The massive data compiled by Gallup about party identification suggests that the party has an identity problem.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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