Analyzing new numbers from Pew, Allahpundit finds good reason for Big Brother Republicans such as King and Christie to fear the insurgent libertarian from Kentucky – a “major swing against government surveillance among tea partiers”:
Three years ago, at least a plurality of every ideological segment except moderate Democrats thought the feds didn’t go far enough to protect the country. Three years later, nearly every segment has swung the other way. The only holdouts are moderate Democrats (oddly) and moderate Republicans. More specifically, non-tea-party Republicans tilt 41/43 towards thinking the feds haven’t done enough to protect the country; among tea partiers, the tilt is … 55/31 towards thinking they’ve gone too far in restricting civil liberties, a 35-point(!) swing since 2010. That’s what a battle for the soul of the party looks like — a double-digit spread among the centrist and conservative wings on a key point of national security.
Normally I’d dismiss a turnaround as sharp as that as driven by partisan reaction to the White House. Elect a Democratic president and you’ll see Dems warm to his counterterror program and Republicans sour on it, no matter how much it resembles the last GOP administration’s program. But Pew’s reference point here isn’t an earlier poll taken during the Bush era; it’s 2010, nearly two years into Hopenchange. This shift has happened entirely on Obama’s watch.