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Pulse of American Political Identity February 23, 2008

Posted by Daniel Downs in abortion, Barak Obama, conservative, Constitution, Democrats, divorce, economy, education, family, gay politics, health care, Hilary Clinton, illegal immigrants, income tax, John McCain, liberals, living wage, Medicare/Medicaid, news, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), political campaigns, politics, polls, Republicans, Ron Paul, welfare.

A recent Gallup poll asked a little over 1,000 Americans the following question: “In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent?” The graph below reveals how Americans responded compared to similar surveys for the past three months.

According to Frank Newport,

The last time 40% of Americans identified as Democrats was August 2000. Before that, there have been just a handful of Gallup Poll telephone surveys — going back to 1985 — in which 40% or more of Americans identified as Democrats. The highest Democratic identification in a Gallup telephone poll was 42% in July 1987.

The highest level of identification with the Republican Party, 39%, has been reached at three points: in May 1991 (a few months after the first Persian Gulf War), December 2003 (in a poll in the field at the time of Saddam Hussein’s capture), and September 2004 (after a successful Republican convention at which George W. Bush was nominated for a second term in office).

In a January 30, 2007 Gallup study, surveys dating back to 1988 demonstrate show near equal divide between Americans who identify themselves as Democrat, Independent, and Republican. The average percent of Americans who see themselves as Independents is 35.4%. Those who identify with the Democrat party are 33.4% and 31.1% of Americans with the Republican party.

Frank Newport thinks election year change rhetoric of Obama and Clinton’s rhetoric of experience contribute to nearly 20% more Americans who believe Democrats are more likely to bring about needed change and they would be better at managing the federal government.

The reason a consistently higher number of Americans who identify themselves as Independents is the rising discontent with status quo party politics. Today, more Americans may be moved by the campaign rhetoric but tomorrow they continue to be distracted. Obama’s message may be exciting but it is back a status quo liberal who vote almost always voted party. Clinton is a great politician who even McCain believes. However, good campaign rhetoric is not based on truth but on what people want to hear. She is nothing less than a hard line liberal Democrat.

If either one of them gets into office, they will not veto universal health care SCHIP, immigrant amnesty bills, gay rights legislation, abortion on-demand at home and abroad, unrestricted embryonic stem cell research, conservative speech discrimination like the Fairness Doctrine, bigger or more welfare entitlements (read not more better paying jobs), bills increasing taxes including on the poor, and the like. This is what they already have been doing.

The graph above and the historical averages shows Republicans are out of step with the society. If McCain or Huckabee would get into office either one would continue supporting family and moral values, freedom of speech even for opponents of supposed gay rights, ethically regulated stem cell research, reducing federal deficit, economic growth, etc. It is doubtful that they could–even if they wanted to–end abortion, non-existing constitutional laws like the Separation of church and state (a.k.a., religion and public institution) and the income tax, unconstitutional protection for gay behaviors, no-fault divorce, or poverty, etc. Because they, like the Democrats, favor and protect the ever-enlarging oligarchy of corporate power and wealth to the detriment of the small, family business–even those with say 30 employees.

Neither party intends to end poverty because to do so they have to make business pay all employees a livable wage. They would have to restructure welfare so that it was given to small and medium businesses to create new jobs paying a wage people could live on. To end poverty, welfare based program like NCLB-ESEA, social services, parts of health care and Medicare-
Medicaid, and other federal power increasing welfare programs would have little to no legitimate reason for continuing to exist.

The growing number of Americans who envision no party loyalty is because of reasons like the above. Political rhetoric does not actually resolve real problems.

The Republic could reduce the number of Independents had those in Congress been willing to maintain their social conservatism while demonstrating dedication to actually correcting the obvious problems. Ron Paul is the best candidate the party had for that reason.

In sum: The polls indicate that higher percentage of Americans see neither party as capable of solving our nation’s problem good. This is further support the consistently 60-80% of Americans who rate Congress as doing a bad job of it. The current high percentage identifying with Democrats is probably due to convincing campaign marketing. Historically, the little over 30% indicates the number of Americans who are true believers of secular liberalism represented by the ideology of the Democrat party. The Republican party has a significantly less number of true believers. The slightly over 30% who identify with Republican ideology indicate not only the number of consistent conservatives but also a serious problem that needs seriously addressed.

Let’s not forget exit speech of southern Democrat Zell Miller at the Republican convention. The way he existed from politics and the Democrat party at least gave a glimmer of hope that Democrats could actually return to their moral roots and adherence to the Constitution.



1. Scott Auger - February 24, 2008

In the United States, voter registration has never been higher (70 % of the eligible voters ) and yet there has been a steady DECLINE in voter turnout. We had a more than 10 % spike last election after Bin Laden released his video 2 days before the election, and I’m sure there will be another spike this year when Obama becomes the next President. This may placate the masses for a while, but nothing has actually changed. In this day and age of modern technology, a NATIONAL POLL – instituted so the masses can be actively involved in their REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY on a weekly basis, adding in their 2 cents on all the major issues of the week – is the best remedy for ailing voter discontentment. Of course there is probably not one elected official who would ever WANT such a thing, and that has more to do with the FACT that we are a FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC ( google United States, Wikipedia, first sentence ) and NOT a representative democracy. The PEOPLE want to be heard, my most distinguished and learned gentlemen and ladies, or so many of them would not be registering. If you truly want the people to feel positive about politics in general, why not give them an opportunity to become actively involved, say once a week, allowing them to voice their opinions on the major issues. When that day comes to pass, you will have solved voter discontentment in the United States.

2. Daniel Downs - February 24, 2008

Scott, that (Obama as Pres.) is pretty darn confident of you. Your proposal for a weekly issue poll is a good idea. An expensive one, I think. Nevertheless, do you believe it would actually make any difference to lawmakers or supposed public representatives?

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