Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Independents Lean GOP; Smallest Gap since 2005

The results of the latest Gallup Poll are unsurprising, really, given the many mistakes and missteps by Barack Obama and the Congress-running Democrats, but it's still instructive.

"Since Barack Obama took office as president in January, the Democratic advantage in leaned party identification has shrunk each quarter, from 13 points in the first quarter (52% to 39%) to 9 points in the second quarter (49% to 40%) and 6 points in the most recent quarter (48% to 42%)."

As Americans discover what HopeNChange really means (higher taxes, more government control), they seem to like it less and less. This doesn't mean they are embracing the GOP--there's still plenty of antipathy for Republicans out there--but independents are having a little buyer's remorse in giving Democrats too much control.

Most Americans like divided government because it prevents wholesale changes policies which affect people and also because any changes made have a patina of bipartisanship. Democrats have done a terrible job in this regard; they truly don't want to compromise on legislation to bring a substantial number of Republicans on board (and by substantial, I mean more than Olympia Snowe). Every major piece of legislation proposed, voted on and enacted this year was done with no or nearly no support from the minority party. Democrat party faithfuls like it this way; they think that their majorities mean they should be allowed to steamroller over opponents. But average citizens don't see it that way. They see a Democrat Congress less interested in creating legislation that is palatable to everyone than in scoring political points.

Leftwingers clearly identify with this approach. For them, the mandates they received last November were to enact every extremist policy they desire without opposition, from the massive Porkapalooza bill to cap and trade to socialized medicine. What they seemingly forgot (or never wanted to admit) is that their majorities were largely built by electing moderate or conservative Democrats from Republican-leaning areas filled with voters who don't want any of those things. These are the independents they are now losing, the same voters crucial to the elections next year.