This is merely WISHFUL THINKING on the part of the Left and the MSM they still dominate.
They said the same things during the Schiavo debate, and whenever there's a particularly bad day in Iraq, or when they discuss the immigration debate, or the social security debate. The Left and the MSM they still dominate were wrong then and their wrong now. There is no and will be no GOP breakup.
Here's what I wrote in MARCH:
BESTY more or less agrees.
Much hogwash has been written lately about the impending conservative crack-up. Glenn argued that the Schiavo case might lead to it; Powerline argues it would more likely be immigration. I SAY HOGWASH. The polls almost ALWAYS show Bush with about 43-53% approval on any SINGLE ISSUE - INCLUDING IRAQ. But these polls are very VERY misleading because they almost always ask about the single issue in a very general way, like: "Do you approve of the way Bush has handled .....BLANK."
Because Bush is a MODERATE, he almost ALWAYS gets a fair amount of disapproval from his far-right flank (perhaps as much as 5-10% of the public), and because the Left-wing of the Democrat Party thinks Bush is a hitleriansmirkingchimp, he almost always gets a non-hearing from another 5-10% of the public. Together, these two groups INFLATE the anti-Bush number by at least 10%. That's why Bush won the election by 9 million votes and the MSM was shocked - because nearly all the polls before the election failed to depict the true overall sentiment of the public. Those critical of Bush from his right flank will NEVER vote Democrat, and they will NEVER cause a crack-up of the GOP.
SO BUSH'S NUMBERS IN THESE SINGLE-ISSUE POLLS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS MUCH LOWER THAN HIS NUMBERS TRULY ARE IN A CRUNCH, or in a head-to-head race with anyone else.
FOR EXAMPLE: Polls show that GENERAL disapproval on Iraq has run as high as 65% recently, but that disapproval total INCLUDES many people who think that Bush has been too weak (folks more "HAWKISH" than Bush), as well people who think Bush is too bellicose and unilateral, (and/or alos includes folks who think we have too few troops there, and folks who think they should all come home immediately).
Likewise, disapproval on how Bush is handling Social Security also is over 50%, but certainly includes folks like me who think that FDR's welfare plan for eldsters is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme and should be entirely trashed. DITTO IMMIGRATION: many think he is too soft on illegals and porous borders, others think he is too tough.
The more Right-sided critics of Bush inflate the anti-Bush numbers and make Bush seem less popular than he really is because a politican has to be judged in comparison (or against) another politician. That's why/how so MANY pundits MISREAD the polls - and always ascribe greater weakness in Bush than is truly warranted by the polls. (THIS IS WHY THEY ALWAYS MISUNDERESTIMATE HIM!)
SO: many see Bush polling badly - on particular day and on a particular issue - and then presume that this issue will lead to a crack-up of the GOP conservative hold. They see a weak politician sitting astride a teeter-totter when in fact Bush is a an "artisan of the possible" with a truly deep and simple commitment to basic universal values. In the crunch, we all know which side of an issue Bush will come down on: the values side. The CONSERVATIVE values side. And he did this in 2004 and won BIGTIME - carrying larger majorities in both bodies of Congress! And that's why the conservative movement won't EVER break-up over any one of these single issues as long as Bush is president.
The next GOP presidential candidate will have to be equally adept at PLAYING POKER as Bush has been, if he OR SHE is going to be a winner, and if conservatism is going to maintain its lead. In other words: it has more to do with how effectively the leader of the GOP handles the breadth of debate within the GOP, than any debate over any single issue.
WHY AM I SO SURE!? Two reasons: (1) Because the Left is bereft of ANY new meaningful proactive polices; the Left is reactionary. Given the choice between the NEW GOP and the Dems, most middle-of-the-roaders will choose the GOP. And (2), because the Democrat Party is moving evermore LEFTWARD (even as some of its SHREWDER pol's try to head to the middle - like Hillary and Richardson and Biden). As a result, the standard bearers of the DNC in 2008 will have a MUCH GREATER PROBLEM winning the nomination and holding their party together (as they parade around Red America for votes), than the GOP will in their continued invasion of Blue America; (REMEMBER: Bush was closer in more Blue states, than Kerry was in Red states; Bush did better in Massachusetts than Gore!).
BOTTOM-LINE: The GOP is the BIG TENT PARTY now; therefore there's going to be more intra-party debate in the GOP than in the Democrat Party. DO NOT CONFUSE THAT FOR FAULT-LINES! It is vitality, not morbidity! And let's face it: listening to Rice and Schwarzeneggar and Pawlenty and Santorum debate each other is ALWAYS GOING TO BE A LOT more interesting than listening to Sharpton and Kucinich and Kerry debate Hillary!