Anxiety Factor

The Obama Brand

Republicans support a path to citizenship--until they find out that you-know-who also supports it.

The Washington Post did a clever thing with its latest poll. They asked people whether they support or oppose proposal X in general terms. Then they let respondents know Obama's position and asked them again. Someone earned his paycheck this week.

Most of the results aren't that surprising with one exception. In general, Democrats are likely to be somewhat more supportive of tihngs when Obama's name is attached, Republicans somewhat less so. Independents show greater variance. They become 9 percent less likely to back a path to citizenship, going from 70 to 61 percent, and 15 percent more likely to support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, up to 84 percent. Still, no big flips from overall support to overall opposition on anything.

Except for Republicans on path to citizenship. Without Obama, it has 60 percent support--a quite surprising number. With Obama, it's 39 percent.

That's obviously all about racial anxiety. The blacks and the browns are teaming up on us. The only question is whether that 60 percent finding is real to begin with. I think it's a little dubious, but it's the number. It's like those cases where conservatives approve of "our" blacks and Latinos with an especial zeal. In any case, I'm sure the phenomenon this poll describes was true with Bush in reverse, but I doubt to tune of 21 points.