This column is devoted to reporting and analyzing the results of our InsiderAdvantage national polls. The format requires that I routinely remove myself from partisan politics. But Ronald Reagan's influence transcends the everyday political. I feel compelled to reflect on the impact of his passing.
Countless people knew Reagan far better than I did, so I won't recount the few times I briefly met or spoke with him. More important to my life was getting to know and work with scores of great people who were prominent parts of the Reagan Revolution's early years. As a young speechwriter working for newly elected U.S. Sen. Mack Mattingly, R-Ga., in 1981, I was completely taken with the wave of excitement that washed over the new Republican "Reaganites" as they set to work.
As the years passed, some of Reagan's most coveted political "teammates" became friends and supporters of mine. Jack Kemp, Phil Crane and Thad Cochran all stumped for me when I was the GOP's nominee for lieutenant governor of Georgia. Still later, I was privileged to be a part of the effort to keep the Reagan legacy alive by serving as Newt Gingrich's campaign chair during the 1990s. From Dan Quayle to Bob Dole and many others, there was a circle of great men and women who touched my life in a personal way. Each was a genuine disciple of Ronald Reagan's brand of populist conservatism.
But in my years as a writer and an interpreter of public opinion and political strategy, I have been forced onto a somewhat lonely island in which I have actually bent over backward to understand the other (Democratic) side of each and every issue, and to call things as I see them. Sometimes, such as in last week's column, in which I noted that polls have recently shown John Kerry to be viewed as the more "likeable" candidate than George Bush, my Republican friends are shocked and even angry. Other surveys and analyses that show Bush in a more positive light arouse suspicions among Democrats that I am twisting the numbers to benefit the GOP. Neither is ever the case.
So in remembering Reagan -- personally my most beloved president -- let me discuss some present-day numbers that make for interesting comparisons to the golden years of Reagan (even though they weren't golden for everyone).
A recent InsiderAdvantage poll, conducted with our survey partners at The Marketing Workshop, asked, "Would you favor the Republicans or the Democrats controlling Congress after this year's election?"
Republicans 46 percent
Democrats 44 percent
Neither 4 percent
Don't know 6 percent