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Morning Fix: Republicans' Independent Gains?

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President Obama's strength among independent voters has waned since the 2008 election with more and more unaffiliated voters now identifying with Republicans, according to new data from Gallup.

For the first time in more than four years of Gallup polls, more self-described independents now lean toward the Republican Party (15 percent) than toward the Democratic party (13 percent). Those numbers are a far cry from late 2006 -- when almost twice as many independents leaned toward Democrats -- or even late 2008 when Democratic-leaning independents outnumbered Republican-leaning independents 16 percent to 12 percent.

Largely as a result of the movement of independents toward Republican, the wide party identification gap Democrats have enjoyed for the last two elections has shrunk to just six points -- 48 percent Democratic, 42 Republican -- the smallest that space has been since early 2005.

Those Gallup numbers jibe with similar movements among independents in the Washington Post/ABC news survey. The most recent Post poll showed 20 percent of independents and non-partisans leaning toward Republicans while 19 percent leaned in Democrats' favor. That dead heat among leaning independents is a stark contrast from earlier this year -- January to be exact -- when Democratic leaning independents outnumbered Republican leaning independents 20 percent to 12 percent.

What explains the independent movement? As with everything in politics, there are lots of explanations but two factors stand out.

First, independents abandoned the Republican Party in droves during the second term of George W. Bush's presidency -- reacting less to the overall GOP brand than to their revulsion with the occupant of the White House.

"Now that Obama's slip-sliding in the polls, it makes sense that independents would move away from him fairly easily," said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster. "After all, the only reason why many of them moved to independent in the first place is because of their antipathy toward President Bush."

A portion of the movement among independents then is rightly understood as a natural reaction to the Bush years. Independent voters are, by their nature, independent and are more comfortable in between the two parties rather than closely identified with one or the other.

The second factor influencing the movement of Independents appears to be a growing concern among that voting bloc with the expansion of government under Obama. In a July Gallup poll, two-thirds of independents said that the president's solutions to the problems facing the country involved "too much government spending."

Curt Anderson, a Republican media consultant, said that the public had reached a "tipping point" in regards the Obama administration. "It's spending and debt and the idea that [Washington] is completely out of control, printing money we don't have and getting no results."

Lisa Grove, a Democratic pollster based in Oregon, was more succinct when asked to explain the movement: "taxes, the deficit and big concerns about Democrats being big spenders," she said.

Before reading too much into where independents are landing in the political space, remember that Democrats still carry a party identification edge and that independents have yet to move en masse to the Republican party.

And, as Democratic pollster Geoff Garin points out, a new Pew Research Center survey provides data that runs counter to the Gallup surveys with 17 percent of independents leaning toward Democrats and 13 percent leaning toward Republicans. (Democrats had an eleven-point party ID edge over Republicans in that Pew poll.)

But, given Obama's strong victory among independents in 2008 -- he carried them by eight points over Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) -- any slippage or movement among this crucial voting bloc is worth noting.

Thursday's Fix Picks: Getting a cold twice in three weeks = enraging.

1. 538's 2010 Senate rankings.
2. John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards and Andrew Young.
3. David Paterson insists he can win (again).
4. Sanford moves to block the release of ethics probe to state lawmakers.
5. Chris Christie is a big Bruce fan.

Cantor Headlines Hoekstra Event: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) along with Tagg Romney, the oldest son of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and longtime Washington GOP operative Ron Kaufman will raise cash for Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra's 2010 gubernatorial bid next Tuesday in Washington. The event, which will be held at the house of election lawyer extraordinaire Charlie Spies and his wife, Republican fundraiser Lisa Spies, comes on the heels of several new polls that show Hoekstra running in second place in next year's primary behind state Attorney General Mike Cox. Hosts for the event are required to raise or donate $1,000 although you can attend the gathering for a contribution of just $100.

Club in Heavy for Hoffman: Days after formally endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the special election in New York's 23rd district, the Club For Growth has reserved more than $250,000 in air time in the seat. That expenditure is more than both national parties have spent on the race to date and, as a result, is likely to have a significant impact on the end result. While conventional wisdom dictates that the Club's endorsement of Hoffman will effectively split the GOP vote in the district between he and state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R), Club sources argue that Scozzafava has little support among Republican voters in the district and, therefore, would have no chance to win against businessman Bill Owens (D) whether or not Hoffman was running. A poll released by the Club last week showed Scozzafava leading with 20 percent while Owens and Hoffman each took 17 percent.

Pawlenty Hires Toner: In yet another sign that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is gearing up to run for president in 2012, he has landed Bryan Cave's Michael Toner to serve as a campaign finance adviser to the newly-minted Freedom First PAC. Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is an expert in matters of money and politics and has played similar roles in the presidential bids of George W. Bush and former senator Fred Thompson (Tenn.). Toner served as outside counsel to the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. Pawlenty is expected to announce a series of advisers -- paid and unpaid -- over the next month as the PAC gears up for its kickoff event on Nov. 4.

Click It!: Want to get the "Morning Fix" in your e-mail inbox every day? Click here and sign up to do just that!

Elleithee Expands Empire: Mo Elleithee, a veteran of Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, is starting a new consulting venture known as Three Point Media. Elleithee and Clare Gannon, a former staffer on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, will be based in Washington while media consultant Mattis Goldman will work out of Los Angeles. Of the new venture, Elleithee said: "Because winning today takes more than TV, we're determined to help our clients move opinions across all media channels, old and new; paid and earned." Elleithee will also continue to work alongside veteran Democratic operative Nick Baldick at Hilltop Public Solutions. (Both Baldick and Elleithee are Georgetown grads and, hence, are good people.)

The Best State Reporters: If you missed our list of the best political reporter(s) in each of the 50 states, you shouldn't have. Clip it. Then save it.

Say What?: "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America." -- Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) not really apologizing at all.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 1, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

Our gracious host LOVES emoticons.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Funny how everyone else here manages to write and express without the teenybopper emoticons and acronyms.

There should be barriers to entry on the Internet.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The world didn't actually "end" during Jimmy Carter's ONE term either ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama's approval ratings are 54 percent according to Gallup today. That is the third straight day showing an increase. Once Obama gets some of his legislative initiatives enacted and independent voters see that the world doesn't come to an end the do nothing GOP will be right back where they started.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | October 1, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

RobParker:

While pResident Obama flies off to DENMARK, stocks tumbled today after a rise in weekly jobless claims and a weaker-than-expected reading on manufacturing sparked worries about the pace of the economic recovery. Many of the stocks that fueled massive third-quarter gains also drove the day's selloff, the first day of the fourth quarter, CNNMoney reports. Maybe he should just get back home and announce a boycott of the Summer Olympics just like Carter did?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Serious progress in Iran?? Hahahahaa. They're building a nuke and launching rockets in our faces. Wrong on that one.

Reforming healthcare?? The bill in play is not reform. It's a new entitlement program that won't solve the cost problem or access. Wrong on that one too.

Averted financial disaster?? Whoa!! Big big laughs on that one. We're still in major recession and hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost each month. Other than dumping over $1 trillion into the financial system, we're still worse off than in January.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

With control of all branches of government, the Democrats have shown that they still can't accomplish anything. Weak.

Posted by: RobParker | October 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

At least Carter never let Iran explode a nuke over Tel Aviv ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama is doing more to revive the Republican's chances than any single politician since Ronald Reagan. The rebirth of Carterism - on foreign policy, the economy, and many other issues - is bad news for the Democrats. Do the Republicans have another Reagan waiting in the wings to save the country once again from a failed Democratic presidency?

==

Hmm, managed to avert a major economic depression, making serious progress with Iran, bold initiatives in solving the healthcare crisis .. yeah, Carter all over again.

Go back to sleep.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Now we're all laughing.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is even BETTER than Ronald Reagan, especially since she will be the FIRST FEMALE nominated by either major party (of course, I will still vote for her even if she switches to "INDEPENDENT" but she has a better chance as a Republican ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin = Ronald Reagan.

In the words of joked, LOL.

But of course, this is a guy who has predicted the reelection of Rep. Cao. He is simply insane.

==

Not just insane but dumber'n a bag of hair.

They called Reagan "the great communicator" for some reason .. musta been alla that optimysticism... is Palin a great communicator?

Well she wrote a book ...

(pause)

OK you can laugh now.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama is doing more to revive the Republican's chances than any single politician since Ronald Reagan. The rebirth of Carterism - on foreign policy, the economy, and many other issues - is bad news for the Democrats. Do the Republicans have another Reagan waiting in the wings to save the country once again from a failed Democratic presidency?

Posted by: kenpasadena | October 1, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"koolkat_1960:

Yes, if she runs, Sarah Palin will get votes from many who voted for Barack Obama last year (just like Reagan Democrats who voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976). Did you even read the Gallup poll results above?"

To consider the above post from joked anything but mind-boggling stupidity, you would have to assume that both Barack Obama = Jimmy Carter and Sarah Palin = Ronald Reagan.

We'll simplify things and ignore the somewhat major facts that 1976 was nothing like 2008. This, of course, is ludicrous. Jimmy Carter was barely elected president, and only because of Watergate and several massive gaffes by Ford. Obama was elected by millions of votes. But we'll do this anyway.

To simplify things further, let's just assume arguendo that Barack Obama = Jimmy Carter. That leaves us with:

Sarah Palin = Ronald Reagan.

In the words of joked, LOL.

But of course, this is a guy who has predicted the reelection of Rep. Cao. He is simply insane.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 1, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It was Drudge that claimed McCain had the lead.

Confusing Drudge with Rasmussen, Zogby, or Gallup is a forgiveable mistake, they're all Republican-leaning and it's a safe assumption that anything coming from Republican is partially or wholly false. Presume this and you will have little cause for regret.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite:

I agree that anyone claiming that other posters are in mental hospitals should be banned (again ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I also just got around to double-checking your [false] claim that Gallup "consistently showed the McCain/Palin ticket with a lead over Obama and Biden":

http://www.gallup.com/poll/107674/Gallup-Daily-Election-2008.aspx

From Sept. 14th to Election Day, Gallup had Obama in the lead.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No, drindl, you guys seems to think that "snowbama" is the one posting from a mental hospital. I tried to warn you not to look at the new thread. That is where the "clean up" is needed:

==

Hey Chris C don't you think it's about time to take this trash out to the curb?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

No, drindl, you guys seems to think that "snowbama" is the one posting from a mental hospital. I tried to warn you not to look at the new thread. That is where the "clean up" is needed:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/most-important-number/the-most-important-number-in-p-42.html

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Here we go again. No doubt a detailed reading would show that the news is almost all good for Obama, with a single number picked out in rapi-breathing desperation to throw a life preserver to drowning Republicans still reeling from losing to a black man, their lives flashing before their eyes.

As though it matters. Come 2012 the GOP is going to have a Kristallnacht battle everyone trying to out-extreme everyone else, eventually nominating some Neanderthal like Palin or Pawlenty with no appeal to anyone outside the rural south.

They're at least two more presidential losses away from figuring out that the hard-right social conservative sh|t doesn't sell.

Anyone who thinks Palin is going to get more than 20 million votes needs to get his head examined.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

At your mental hospital, Joked?

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Too late, she just spewed on the latest "Most Important Number in Politics Today" thread. Clean-up on aisle 6!!!

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

Don't check out the latest thread re: PA then.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

that should be 20%. but by now it might have shrunk to 200 people.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to disappoint you, mikey. obama's numbers are rising and the number of self-identified republicans remains at a historical low, barely 205 of the electorate.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Last I checked, for all of her other qualities, Gov. Palin did not graduate at the top of class from Stanford Law School ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Demonizing is what they do best.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Obama was a fresh face, a novelty.He has been unable or unwilling to keep his promises pledges and vows and has proven to be a dismal failure at every turn.People eventually understand that he is a radical who lied to them and that is why his numbers have and will continue to fall.He is being reject by everyone who pays attention and is not a hyper-partisan,an idiot,or a mooch.

Posted by: mikem12 | October 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama was a fresh face, a novelty.He has been unable or unwilling to keep his promises pledges and vows and has proven to be a dismal failure at every turn.People eventually understand that he is a radical who lied to them and that is why his numbers have and will continue to fall.He is being reject by everyone who pays attention and is not a hyper-partisan,an idiot,or a mooch.

Posted by: mikem12 | October 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think true voting independents have no real political leanings except to evaluate America's economic & military situations objectively. They see how things are going, evaluate how our lives are better or worse and throw their support either for or against the statues quo. Their basic theory seems to be: if things are good, support it. If things are bad, get rid of the perputrators and find someone new. They have the right in this nation not to be dedicated to political party or statues quo government, that's what makes America great. In late 2005, independents decided that president Bush had overstepped his bounds, the economy began to tank and found the o' "throw the bums (Republicans) out". Well, in 06 & 08 Republicans took the beating. Now that Obama and Democrats have taken over and are spending at rapid rates and trying to expand government into taking over healthcare, they want to throw the democrats out. Independents are never political allys, as both parties should understand. Noone is going to appeal to this diverse group all the time, either. That, also, should be understood by all.

It sounds like Hoekstra is getting some help from his DC crowd. No surprise here. Mike Cox should have the most support from the Michigan Republican delegation, however. Mike Bouchard will have to largely depend on the Club for Growth for his fundraising and hardcore fiscal conservatives. Snyder has his own money and business relationships will be helpful in his quest for the R nomination. I still think Mike Cox is the favorite here.

I think Doug Hoffman has a real shot to win NY-23. With the Club's advertising dollars and demonizing of both of his opponents, he has a great shot to win it.

Posted by: reason5 | October 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

C'mon guys, take it easy on Jake: to him Sarah Palin *is* intelligent. It really depends on where you yourself are coming from.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

P.S. did you even read the Gallup poll results above? Do you think that every Reagan Democrat in 1980 and 1984 failed to vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976? Are you aware that McCain-PALIN got 10% of the self-described Democratic vote last year?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

There are more registered Democratic voters. Even with the shadow over ACORN (tear them down and the Democrats will organized another one - remember the Republicans jokes about community organizers in the Democratic Party)- However we take it seriously and it does works!

As far as Independent goes - Have you looked up the diversity in that party if they ever to beat out the Republicans - Their's will be so chaotic!!

Posted by: danders5000 | October 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

As you know, plenty of politicians were "quitters, losers" before winning the Presidency (some, like Richard Nixon, TWICE : ) If at first you don't succeed ...

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

'Yes, if she runs, Sarah Palin will get votes from many who voted for Barack Obama '

omigod. LOL. although it's sad to see anyone that delusional...

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

norriehoyt:

SOME "independents" however are very well-informed about government and politics, are secure in their own values and opinions, and (yes) tend to gravitate towards a conservative point of view -- we distrust BOTH major political parties -- what "dictionary" are you referring to?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

'Sarah Palin is "proudly ignorant" huh? '

you betcha!

'Which State were YOU the Governor of? '

WERE is the operative point here. She's a quitter, a loser. Like talking Barbie, it was just too 'hard' for her.

'Or, are those questions too "incoherent" for you in between conference calls?'

you are incoherent, that is for sure.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

Yes, if she runs, Sarah Palin will get votes from many who voted for Barack Obama last year (just like Reagan Democrats who voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976). Did you even read the Gallup poll results above?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Sounds so nice I said it TWICE! LOL.....

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

These "gains" are why the mouthbreathers have started talking about "Coup d'Etat", "We're Not Gonna Take Anymore", etc, etc........

"Grandpa, what was a repbulican (sic)?"

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 1, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

These "gains" are why the mouthbreathers have started talking about "Coup d'Etat", "We're Not Gonna Take Anymore", etc, etc........

"Grandpa, what was a repbulican (sic)?"

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 1, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Many studies have shown that, as compared with both Republicans and Democrats, "Independents" are less informed about government and politics.

They are also less sure of, and less secure in, their own values and opinions,
though they tend to gravitate towards a conservative point of view.

Basically, "Independents" are uninformed dummies who blow in the wind like dead leaves.

They're also never satisfied with where they've just landed and usually quickly migrate elsewhere.

So the Democrats needn't worry too much about where the I's are at the moment.

BTW, I have a dictionary that defines a "political independent" as a "grievance-collecting dysfunctional personality".

Posted by: norriehoyt | October 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

LOL does joked really think the mental lightweight, fringe rightwingnut, nasty, money-grubbing, shallow, blithering idiot Sarah Palin will pull ANY votes from ANYONE who might vote for Obama in 2012? As joked would say, LOLROFLMAOPIMP!!!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is "proudly ignorant" huh? Which State were YOU the Governor of? Or, are those questions too "incoherent" for you in between conference calls?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Between conference calls...

Well it is hard to say on dottydo.
Obviously she is a very, very angry person and she is proudly ignorant, like Palin, a peculiarly American quirk.

As if to, shall we say, metabolize the anger, she has set herself on Obama.
But on to the strengths (we are rightly criticized for focusing only on pathology).

She is as ubiquitous as she is indefatigable. Dotty has been frantic, spraying all things Obama for at least a year, incoherent on boards too numerous to count. We call these people stably unstable.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, bartling.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

For those with selective short memory.

http://www.ringospictures.com/index.php?page=20090816

Posted by: bartling | October 1, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What is it about Republicans that they can't just criticize someone, they have to demonize them?

-drivl

the moonbat consults the mirror and sees -


???????????????????

Maybe you should use that speed dial connection to your other shrink.

Posted by: snowbama | October 1, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

P.S. the REAL holocaust in America is abortion (59 million killed here since 1972, with an estimated 46 million killed every year worldwide).

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart on undecided voters.

Funny, but not flattering to people who hadn't decided on a candidate a month before the election.

http://crooksandliars.com/silentpatriot/daily-show-undecided-voters-aka-stup

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-16-2008/undecided-focus-group

The second one is great. They have a CNN type panel of actual undecideds.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Now is the time for all good (wo)men to come to the aid of their country!

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Those 20 million votes for an INDEPENDENT candidate made it the most successful third-party Presidential run in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. However, unlike Perot, some other third party candidates since Roosevelt have actually won electoral college votes -- Strom Thurmond had 39 in 1948 and George Wallace had 46 in 1968 -- compared with Thurmond and Wallace, who polled very strongly in only a small number of states, Perot's vote was more evenly spread across the country. That's what we need to build on (and Sarah Palin bailin' from the GOP could do it).

Just think of the possibilities, if most voters get disgusted with BOTH major parties. Ross Perot's best showing was that he managed to finish second in two states: Maine (Perot received 30.44% of the vote to Bush's 30.39%, even though Clinton won Maine with 38.77%) and Utah (Perot received 27.34% of the vote to Clinton's 24.65%, but Bush41 won Utah with 43.36%).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot#1992_presidential_candidacy

Of course, the extent of the impact of Perot dropping out of that race mid-stream will never be fully known. Some argue that he might have ended up winning the race had he stayed in. Regardless, a detailed analysis of the voting demographics revealed that Perot's support drew heavily from across the political spectrum, with 20% of his votes coming from self-described liberals, 27% from self-described conservatives, and 53% coming from self-described moderates. Economically, however, the majority of Perot voters (57%) were middle class, earning between $15,000 and $49,000 annually, with the bulk of the remainder drawing from the upper middle class (29% earning over $50,000 annually). That's exactly who Gov. Palin needs to go after. I would expect her new book "Going Rogue" to do just that.

Now #1 Bestseller at BOTH Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

http://www.amazon.com/Going-Rogue-American-Sarah-Palin/dp/0061939897

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Going-Rogue/Sarah-Palin/e/9780061939891/?cds2Pid=29205&inframe=y

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Good, insightful piece. You obviously write well with a cold!

As you pointed out, many Independents are disaffected R.s who loathed GWB. Some 'coming home' is inevitable.

How many of them are put off by the ridiculous shenanigans in Congress, of BOTH parties, is hard to tell.

When it is perceived that the Administration has passed a SUCCESSFUL health care overhaul (preferably by steamrolling such crypto-Republicans as Sen. Ben Nelson), when Obama has managed to undo what is possible from the Bush years, when the improvement to the economy caused by the Stimulus Plan has taken effect, those numbers will look somewhat better for the D.s.

Aiding the Dems is the fact that the R.s are still locked in an internal battle between between the 'centrists' (Crist, T-Paw, Kay Baily Hutchinson) and the far Right (Sarah Palin, et. al.).

Until that schism gets resolved, the R.s can't offer a viable alternative to those who dislike what the Obama Administration is trying to do.

Still, we can't expect the Dems to emerge entirely unscathed unless they change their ways.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 1, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

CHRIS CHRISTIE IN BRUCE'S OWN WORDS: 'THE NOTHING MAN'

Since The New York Times did not provide a "comments" section for its story about New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie's worship of Bruce Springsteen, let me offer a quick reaction here:

Like Ronald Reagan before him, Chris Christie has proven himself to be tone-deaf to the true meaning of Bruce Springsteen's music. Chris Christie represents "the town for losers" side of Bruce's ouevre. He's the VA man, who just don't understand.

The nothing man.

Chris Christie: What a crass exploitation artist, who conveniently confesses his love of The Boss to The New York Times on the eve of Springsteen's concert tour, in the midst of a hard-knuckle campaign that has Jon Corzine closing in on his tenuous lead in the polls.

Christie uses Bruce's music at his rallies? Does he have the permission of the publisher of that music, who is Bruce Springsteen? Is he paying royalties? What is Springsteen's response to The Times' story? The Times couldn't get it.

CC, I suggest you contact The Boss' people and see if Bruce plans to do to Christie what he did to Reagan:

School the politician as to the true meaning of the music, and demand he stop exploiting Bruce's music to further an ideology that is diametrically opposed to Springsteen's world view.

One thing that does ring true: Christie is a big Springsteen fan -- probably one of the biggest. And probably the biggest hypocrite.

Here's what the likes of Chris Christie helped to bring upon New Jerseyites and the American people:

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 1, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

BB --- you are right about the final poll.

What is it about Republicans that they can't just criticize someone, they have to demonize them? Comparing Alan Grayson to Ahmadinejad is just laughable. Or would be, if it wasn't so sad how base our discourse has become. It's the same with comparing Obama to Hitler -- just grossly ridiculous and infantile. And note how 'the liberal media' never said boo over all the absurd comments like 'pulling the plug on granny' and 'death panels' made by republicans --I guess Joe Johns considered that “thoughtful conversation about important ideas”

"Yesterday on CNN’s Situation Room, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) stood by his criticism of the Republican healthcare plan — which is “don’t get sick,” and if you do get sick, “die quickly” — to a panel of mostly hostile CNN contributors and GOP consultant Alex Castellanos.

Castellanos repeatedly attacked Grayson, comparing him at one point to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The other CNN hosts rallied to Castellanos’ side: Joe Johns incredulously asked if Grayson wanted a “thoughtful conversation about important ideas” and Gloria Borger appeared to be confused by the notion that talking about the number of people dying from a lack of health insurance was getting the “debate back on track.”

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

No, dudh, everyone does NOT have to actually vote for a Democrat or a Republican -- in recent history, Ross Perot got 19% of the popular vote in 1992 -- maybe the reals problems are voter apathy and the outdated electoral college system?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Drivl consults a shrink. No surprise there.

Posted by: snowbama | October 1, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

This is all very interesting, but if the Repubs nominate a rightwingnut, they'll lose the independents at the only time it matters -- voting day 2012.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 1, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Drivl. What happened to your principled boycott, to force cc to come around. Oh it was simply a planned vacation

typical. No principles. No grounding in reality. All empty propoganda. You should be a czar. You're just loopy enough.

Posted by: snowbama | October 1, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

By definition (and with one notable exception around here), an independent isn't loyal to a party. Heck, party loyalty has declined notably in recent decades.

One notable point from the graph. Republican identification hasn't changed notably since the decline in 2005. It's bumping around 40±2% from 2006 onwards. There is some Democratic slippage from the low 50s to the high 40s, but is anyone really surprised about that given the state of the economy? If you are, read your Carville!

Incidentally, Gallup had Obama up by 11 in its final poll of the 2008 election. Not that national polls meant much as the election approached.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

shrink-- what is your diagnosis for this dizzy dottydo character? I mean besides illiterate.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The reality of how people feel about Obama's false promises and lies?

Let the stories out there tell it like it is.
Let's go to the location where Obama laid the groudwork for leaving a wake of victims, who bought what the flim flam NPD Sociopathic dual profiled manIwas selling.

STIMULOUS


http://www.kpho.com/video/21165896/index.html

Posted by: dottydo | October 1, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe they should just stop voting, since by their own estimation they keep getting it wrong."

This line is hilarious. Thank you for my first FIX laugh of the day.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Quite simple. When democrats are actually given the reins of power they quickly stumble. All the promises were empty. It's just now everyone knows.

Posted by: snowbama | October 1, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Gallup's 'accuracy':

In the last election, thhey consistently showed the McCain/Palin ticket with a lead over Obama and Biden. They ALWAYS oversample republicans.

It is interesting to note that James Clifton, who now owns the Gallup organization, is a major Republican donor.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Margaretmyers below. Independent voters are actaully among the most clueless.

The explanation that they turned anti-Republican because they disliked Bush overlooks the fact that these floating independents are precisely the people who broke for Bush in 2004.

So in fact these are people who voted for Bush, then regretted their choice, then voted for Obama, and now claim to regret that choice. Maybe they should just stop voting, since by their own estimation they keep getting it wrong.

Posted by: JenDray | October 1, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

funny thing... polls I've been seeing say just the opposite of Chris' polls. me thinks it's just more wishful thinking on his part...

A slew of recent polling data points to a conclusion that might have seemed hard to believe amidst the town hall craziness in the dog days of August and early September: President Obama's numbers have not only stabilized but actually seem to be showing a modest uptick. And by several other measures the political landscape for Democrats isn't nearly as bleak as it was being portrayed just a few weeks ago.

There's enough data to conclude that August, rather than being a public support train-wreck for the president was actually an inflection point, when the downward trend flattened out, and in some cases began crawling back upward.

Presidential Approval

The numbers here all show that Obama's decline from his honeymoon period has essentially stopped -- and that he has leveled out in a solid territory.

Just a month ago, the talk had been about how Obama's approval rating had fallen from its prior, unnatural honeymoon highs. He'd reached 50% in Gallup, a key measure, and seemed ready to dip below 50% at any time.

But a funny thing happened: A further dip never happened. Instead, he leveled out and even seems to be enjoying a modest rebound.

A CBS/New York Times poll put him at 56%-33%, compared to 56%-35% in August. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has him at 51%-41%, compared to 51%-40% in August. A Fox News poll has him at 54%-39%, compared to 53%-40% in August.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Going a little deeper than the dynamic the chart seems to convey, it does not reflect the shift of former independents who have been drawn to the democratic party by either the charisma and leadership talents of Obama or the vacuum of ideas on the right. I was a democratic leaning independent in 2006. I am now a democrat. I suggest there are tens of thousands like me who have made that switch. Beware of simplistic charts that mask the true dynamic.

Posted by: optimyst | October 1, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

In other words, given the two polls, Gallup and Pew, what you're saying is there may not be any movement of Independents toward Republicans at all.

Plus, the term "Independent" in American politics really has to do with abstract personal philosophy, not voting, since everyone as a rule has to actually vote for a Democrat or a Republican. The test of comes only during elections.

Posted by: dudh | October 1, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes, let's blame it on Gallup, anything but laying blame where it belongs, on Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Quite honestly, I have come to distrust Gallup surveys. I am particularly wary of the manner in which they pose policy questions. In those recent polls where Gallup showed Obama in decline, they left it up to partisan interpreters to explain the decline and most often that explanation came off a s a general decline in confidence.

The truth is that much of Obama's decline in popularity came from the left who have become disillusioned with Obama's drift toward the center on health care reform. Gallup preferred to allow the assumption that most of Obama's decline in the polls had to do with his spending policies when in fact it had little to do with that.

Moreover, Gallup tends to tailor their polls to favor republicans. Gallup is an "establishment" organization which tends to view the world in more tradition conservative terms and that affects they manner in which they conduct their polls. It explains why in their polls Obama's lead over McCain in 2008 was consistently lower in their polls than in other polls like PEW or Opinion Research.

By election day last year Gallup was consistently tracking Obama with much smaller leads over McCain than the 7 point win he actually garnered. It appears that Gallup was being influenced by the McCain campaigns dogged insistence over the weekend before the elction that there was dramatic movement toward McCain. Just as today they seem to be influenced more by murmurings of the talk industry than by objective findings within their own surveys.

Posted by: jaxas | October 1, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the lagging indicator theorem is the great Democratic hope; I share it. It would be grotesque if Republicans were allowed to pose as the party of job creation.

Problem is, where are the living wage jobs supposed to come from? American manufacturing could not possibly come back in time, perhaps it never will. Driven the Pulaski Skyway lately?

The whole "service economy" idea might be silly. An economy can not be built upon people serving each other. Or can it? We are about to find out. As health care moves past 20% of gdp, will it get to 30%?

We have seen the cost of health care (as % of gdp) as a disaster, disadvantaging American industry in global competition.
But it may be that this industry, which certainly provides more living wage jobs than any other in this country, is going to be the only one we actually can grow.

Health care is about spending money on each other, which is good. But I can't figure out whether or how the "service economy" is sustainable. More bluntly, how do we generate the wealth we need to pay other people to make the stuff we use?

I have this fantasy that we might actually be able to export health care. The developing world sure needs it. We could deliver it in exchange for goods. Sounds crazy but there is a huge need for health care workers to serve the world's 9 billion. An expansion of our moribund educational system would need to be a big part of this solution.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Gallenrod,
I agree that the CFG is taking a shot at other people running for office, but I don't think that they see Hoffman as a losing candidate. NY-23 is pretty red even though it is in NY. If they convince enough voters that Scozzafava is a RINO then they can beat Owens too, unless the Dems really get out the vote. I think the DNC should jump in with both feet on this one. Even if Hoffman wins it is a victory for the Democrats because it will drive the GOP as a whole towards a more extreme position.
And as a caviate my family has a summer vacation home in the NY-23 so I try and keep up with the local politics a little more then most districts. BTW, if anyone is looking for a great vacation spot for camping or hiking or whatever that area of the country (the Adirondack park) is one of the prettiest places on the East coast.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Just meaningless twitching from people who pretend to be moderate but are usually just inattentive and swayed by candidates themselves. They wanted a change in direction, they got it, and act surprised even though it was what the candidate was saying all along. Now they're just being led by outrage about spending, even though there's no way to prove how bad things would be without it.

Posted by: thecorinthian | October 1, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Chris, good thing you put a question mark at the end of the headline so we all don't think you're totally out there. Another one of your wishful thinking posts.

Posted by: katem1 | October 1, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Andy, back from the gym, I see you are correct. I had only heard about his remark that he apologized to the uninsured dead victims - not the Holocaust remark. I agree with you and withdraw my previous post.

Margaret, you have reconciled the apparent difference in our positions so well that you should take up labor and employment law. It is not too late, you know.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 1, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Some comments on two of the lesser topics where people are playing a strategic Long Game:

Look for Eric Cantor to set up a Senate bid at some point if he can raise his profile enough. Timing is an issue. If he thinks Webb is vulnerable, he might run in 2012. If Mark Warner is elected president in 2016, he will go after that seat (or try to get appointed to it if Virginia has a Republican governor).

NY-23: The Club for Growth already thinks the Dems will win this one. They're not trying to get Hoffman elected as much as they want every R within reach to fear their opposition and toe their line on taxes or face primary challenges or endorsements of non-R conservative candidates in the general election. It's an early salvo in the fight for control of the Republican party process at the local level. The problem is that social conservatives will be doing the same thing where they have strength. The fight between the party establishment, the social conservatives, and the tax hawks will be interesting but probably won't help establish the party unity R's need to make a comeback at the national level.

Posted by: Gallenod | October 1, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, I would just say that unemployment is a lagging indicator that usually comes up 6 months to a year after the recession ends. I would bet that we will hit 10% in November or December and then by about february or March that will start to drop again. Then by next July/August unemployment will drop below 8% just in time for the electionering to start in full.

Mind you this is speculation and it doesn't take into account something like an Iranian oil embargo because of sanctions that the UN is going to put in place. But the economic indicators seem to be pointing that we have turned the corner, and in the next month or so the economy should start growing.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 1, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Mark, just when I think I am being subtle in my thinking, you take it to a zen level. That is an excellent explanation for the shift from 2004 to 2008, and I can even see it in the graph, but isn't that pretty much what I was saying? There's a fair segment of independent voters (and even party-committed voters) who carom about from party to party in an unreasoning way. I'm thinking of that percentage of Democrats who voted for Bush as well.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 1, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with your analysis on sarcastic references to the holocaust Andy.

But as to the economy on the mend?
The recovery of the banks and the booming equity market is happening at the expense of the middle class.

If that continues, Republicans standing for office will be allowed to put their "I'm for the average (you know, hard working, white) American masks back on.

Democrats better figure out how to put a stop to the jobless recovery. Unemployed people get really angry. Or do both parties now endorse the trickle down, supply side, corporate welfare program? I guess anything else would be socialism.

So I see the health industry $$$$ as a stimulus package, as the means to that end. I see it as a jobs program for the middle class more than I see it reforming industry's business model.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Also Mark I don't think you can ever win points from anyone by comparing anything to the Holocaust with the exception of situations like Darfur, Rwanda, and other acts of genocide.
Grayson is going to pay for his idiotic comments when he is voted out of office next year, and frankly even as a democrat I think he probably deserves it. Additionally, inflammatory language like that does nothing but lower the level of discourse in the Congress, which is exactly what we don't need right now.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 1, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I would bet that when the Democrats pass healthcare reform without a direct public option (coops only) then those numbers will jump back up again. This is why the Republicans are so afraid of it passing. They know they are facing an uphill battle in the Senate next year (due to having more seats to defend) and there is a very real possibility that the Democrats may actually gain seats there while losing seats in the house (same problem for the Dems). If that happens and the democrats get say 63 seats or more then they will be able to pass anything they want.

Also with the economy now on the mend the GOP knows that if they appear only as obstructionists then they will start to be seen as irrelavent. If that happens the party will be through, because it will start to tear itself apart between the the social conservatives and the coutry club fiscal hawks. The start of this can already be seen in the NY-23rd election as CC points out as well.

The GOP needs to have a come to Jesus moment and realise that the healthcare bill is going to pass. They should try and convince Snowe and Collins to vote for the current Baucas plan so that the GOP can claim that their bipartisanship kept the plan budget neutral and that if it weren't for them the Democrats would have passed a huge new single payer system (not true but the perception is there). Then they can make the argmuent to the American people that they need Republicans to counter the other side.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 1, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

While I still don't find anything compelling about Governor Sanford, I did find the #4 link broken.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Grayson may have turned his sarcastic remark to his advantage in his district with his "apology". A reliable poll there would be interesting.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 1, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

As an indie, margaret, I resemble that remark!

I draw a slightly different conclusion. There is no party loyalty among hard core indies. But the slippage of Rs increased the number of R leaning indies. Some of them are moving in their natural direction as government "gets big". That's all.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 1, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

In the past, Independent voters have enjoyed some cache as thoughtful voters following a greater integrity than voters who hewed to a party line.

I feel like the last couple of voting cycles (Bush’s win in 2004 followed by Obama’s win in 2008) reveals that there is a strong percentage of Independent voters who are not thoughtful, but are panicky, and rush about from this side to that side based on some flash-bang stuff lobbed by either party and then repeated in the media. Maybe it isn’t that they are so independent minded, but that they are undecided and easily manipulated.

A year ago this little group was rejecting everything Republican and voting for change. This summer, actually confronted with change, they trickle away from their latest convictions. Instead of being principled, the Independents start to look situational, and easily lead by the *noise.*

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 1, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

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