Skip to main content

View Diary: Democrats, not Independents, Dominate 21st Century American Electorate (29 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Yes they are, because indies decide elections (0+ / 0-)

    If you have 34% Rs with high likelihood of voting, and 47% Ds with lower likelihood of voting, then every time there's an election, the way the independents swing will decide it.

    Neither party can win without the middle (unless of course you're talking about a district where the electorate skews more heavily one way or the other, which some do).

    This survey is a return to the classic party model that was taught in Poli Sci courses in the late 60s and 70s. It's the model that the conservative resurgence (Reagan, and probably Carter too) destroyed. If it continues, it means that Republicans generally will have to move towards the center (towards the left) in order to continue as a viable national party. Which election results in the last two cycles also seem to indicate.

    For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

    by badger on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 12:28:49 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, And No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

          It's true in a sense that Independents decide elections, but for them to decide an election in favor of the Republicans, given a 47-34 Democratic advantage among non-Independents, the Independents would have to break 84% for the Republicans. And that assumes that they would turn out in the same proportion as partisans. If turnout among partisans were 40%, but turnout from true Independents were only 30%, the Republicans would need 95% of the Independents to win. Even In Alabama in 2008, when 18% of the voters self-identified as Independents, Obama got 33%, to 64% for McCain.

          Given the 47-34 Democratic advantage, virtually the only way Republicans can win is if their turnout is much stronger than the Democrats, and they also get more than half of the Independents. And it may be very difficult to do both at once: by taking extreme positions to motivate their base, they probably discourage true independents from supporting them.

      •  Historically (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ron Thompson

        from sometime after the New Deal until sometime in the 1970s, the situation was that self-reported party ID (and it was in this Univ. of Michigan study, which has been going on for a long time, and historical data is online - National Election Survey?) was in the ballpark with the numbers reported above.

        However Republicans - true moderates in some places, like the northeast, conservatives in other places - could win elections or even the White House, because GOP candidates were better funded and Democratic turnout was significantly lower than Republican turnout. That was the standard line when I took Poli Sci courses back in the dark ages. The survey above seems to indicate more problems with D than R turnout, which cancels some of the party ID advantage.

        In that situation, if one party is too extremist (the classic example is Goldwater/Johnson in 1964), then independents shift to the more moderate candidate. Otherwise, even given the big advantage in party ID, national elections tended to be very close (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon I, Carter, Bush II were all very close elections - think "Dewey Wins!!!", Mayor Daley "counting" votes in 1960, or Bush v. Gore).

        This is only a big D advantage if the Dems can maintain turnout (energize their base in modern parlance), although if the advantage continues, it will tend to move Rs back to the middle or they won't survive.

        For a great example of how it works, see how WA State Gov. Gregoire and Rep. Jay Inslee (probably 2012 D gov candidate) are talking about AG McKenna's (probable R gov candidate) joining the HCR lawsuit.

        What might be different is what you point out in your last paragraph - tipping independents while keeping the base, which is why the Teabaggers are one of the best things to happen to the Dems. Club for Growth is another big D assist. That's a return to the 1964 presidential matchup. Fox might actually be helping Dem chances right now by maintaining the illusion of a large, dominant right. Eventually the Rs will wise-up, or be, as kos predicts, a regional party in the south and (maybe) a couple of western states like UT and ID. Brown in MA is certainly an aberration and a result of a poor D candidate and probably low turnout (haven't really looked at that) - but an educational example of taking the party ID advantage for granted.

        It isn't a good argument for Dem centrism or caution though, because polling on most issues (the stellar example being the public option) favors most D positions, and some very strongly, like nearly 2:1. Some, like gay marriage and abortion, are very close, but aren't seen as issues that decide the vote of most voters, and don't lose that many potential D votes. (Although it certainly depends on district).

        For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

        by badger on Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 04:19:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site