Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now Concentrated!

Gallop has a new poll showing across-the-board party identification losses for Republicans since Bush took office, with the biggest declines "after Hurricane Katrina and Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court ... and amid declining support for the Iraq war." There are significant losses among every subgroup except conservatives, senior citizens and frequent churchgoers.

The parties were also evenly matched on basic party identification in 2001 (which does not take into account the partisan leanings of independents), with 32% identifying themselves as Republicans, 33% as Democrats, and 34% as independents. The 2009 data show the GOP losing five points since then, with identification increasing three points among both Democrats and independents.
While the Bush/Cheney years did most of the damage measured by Gallop, the shrinkage has accelerated since November. Rather than looking to broaden its appeal, the Party of Limbaugh now seems locked in a death spiral of ritual purification. Like a reduction in cooking, the GOP is driving off its more moderate elements, thickening, concentrating and intensifying what remains. Or as Wikipedia puts it,
While reduction does concentrate the flavors left in the pan, extended cooking can drive away volatile flavor compounds, leaving behind less interesting tastes.
Tastes that appeal to fewer and fewer Americans, it seems.

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