Between the current administration's handling of the war in Iraq, the yawning federal budget deficit, the avalanche of employee health care costs on businesses, the inevitability of global warming and the potential new business opportunities available, and the stranglehold of social conservatives over the party's agenda that many in business disagree with, and top that with Greenspan's recent spanking of the Republicans, and you've got yourself a compelling read. Some highlights:
- In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in September, 37% of professionals and managers identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, down from 44% three years ago.
- Federal campaign-finance reports document shifting support in some quarters of the business community. Hedge funds last year gave 77% of their contributions in congressional races to Democrats, up from 71% during the 2004 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan analyst of campaign finances. Last year the securities industry gave 45% of its money to Republicans, down from 58% in 1996, the center said.
- Some intraparty tension is rooted in cultural differences. Social conservatives tend to be relatively lower-income, less educated, concentrated in the South and West, and newer to the party than many old-line Republicans of an economic or business bent. Each blames the other for the party's current state -- often employing pejoratives such as "Bible-thumpers" or "country-club Republicans."