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I've been watching the data at pollster.com to follow the latest polls, but also to follow the National Party ID's and how they've been trending in recent weeks.  It seems that although Democrats are facing a negligible ID reduction since a year ago, but Republicans ID has gone through a very noticeable change.  

I'll muse on these developments and their effects on the long term below the fold.

First, allow me to embed various party ID graphs from pollster.

Default trend smoothing and all polls:
<script></script>

More sensitive smoothing with all polls:
<script></script>

Less sensitive smoothing with all polls:
<script></script>

Finally, let's go back to default smoothing and exclude Democrats from the graph:
<script></script>

All of these graphs have shown that the Republican party is dwindling away in terms of how many people identify themselves as Republican.  Although Democrats are also feeling a slight depression as a side effect of Democrat popularity going down (while remaining significantly higher than the GOP).  But what's most interesting about the GOP slump is that the percentage of people who identify themselves as independents is rising in almost perfect tandem with the decline of the GOP.

It seems that the fall of the GOP is leading to the rise of those who do not identify with either party.  Could this lead to the start of a new major party in the future or is it just a meaningless temporary trend?  I have speculations, but there is not enough evidence that I have on hand to support any of them enough to state confidently.  What do you all think on this?  What theories would you like to share?  Could the Republicans be going the way of the Whigs?

Also, are many of the Republicans that are leaving the party (presumably) to become independents are doing so because they think the party is shifting too far to the right? or is it because they don't think the party is far enough to the right?

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I leave you now with Groucho Marx singing a song that seems to perfectly match the modern GOP meme.

Originally posted to KingofSpades on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:00 PM PDT.

Poll

What do these poll graphs say to you?

45%18 votes
7%3 votes
32%13 votes
5%2 votes
10%4 votes

| 40 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I said broaden... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil

    ...by which I mean become more progressive, talk more progressive and frame it progressive.

    That will broaden appeal.

    (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

    by Enterik on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:04:27 PM PDT

  •  They VOTE. (4+ / 0-)

    In an off year, conservatives make up a big percentage of the few who go to the polls. That's why I'm not reassured by polls of "all adults".

    Voter turnout in 94: 36%

  •  Hmm. (5+ / 0-)

    Also, are many of the Republicans that are leaving the party (presumably) to become independents are doing so because they think the party is shifting too far to the right? or is it because they don't think the party is far enough to the right?

    Would have to be more the former, I think, because when looking at some polls, Independents tend to be somewhere in the middle -- for example, perhaps showing less overall approval of Obama than Democrats but more approval of him than Republicans. And also, I simply can't imagine anyone complaining that the Republican party is not far Right enough. No matter how crazy/conservative a wingnut's views might be, there's an equally crazy Republican in Congress to represent those views. A friend of mine showed me this, and though funny, it's sadly true:

  •  since there's really no "Independent" party (4+ / 0-)

    I think those who identify as such are really saying "none of the above."  I look for that trend line to continue on the upswing for the next year, and unless Obama (as Chris Mathews put it) "puts a win" in the W column, the Dems risk some voters peeling away as well as the GOP does.

    We have a lot of single issue voters in our party, and he hasn't really given any of them something to really jump up and down about so far.

    Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. H. L. Mencken

    by Keith930 on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:13:28 PM PDT

  •  My guess (without stats) is that many of these (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norbrook, thethinveil

    "independents" might lean Republican if push comes to shove. Only about a year or so ago I would have pegged them as leaning Democrat. Just a feeling.

    •  nah, they see the idiots and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wildthumb, Norbrook

      while they wish they could vote repub., they can't

      What if the hokeypokey is what it's all about?

      by Julie Gulden on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:29:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd say in general you're right -- (4+ / 0-)

      -- but in specific, it depends on the Republican. Take a look at the most recent party favorability ratings of the Republican Party. 48% in the South, low double digits in the West and Midwest, and 6% in the Northeast.

      What that says to me is that as the Republican Party moves further to the right, it's also going to isolate itself more and more to the South.

      Further, what we learned in MD-01 last year is that Republican primary voters aren't interested in getting an electable Republican -- they want somebody for Limbaugh to fawn over. So those independents aren't going to be interested.

      This, incidentally, is why they're going after ACORN with such force. They realize that their turnout is going to be historically low next year and want to make sure that anyone who gets Democrats out to vote is as hamstrung as they are.

      •  You're right, but there's also this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingofSpades

        A lot of party identification not only has to do with the national party - but also what the local party is (or is allowed to be) doing.  In NY, there are times when I really think about ditching my party affiliation, particularly given the antics of Paterson and the State Senate this past year.  While I was proud to identify myself as a Democrat last year during the Presidential elections, this year has made it - well - embarrassing to be one at times.  

        Given what the national Republicans have been doing - swinging even further to the right, the "purges" going on, and the lack of substantive actions/accomplishments, I don't see them recovering as a national party in the near future.

        I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

        by Norbrook on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:46:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  palin will run as independent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exMnLiberal, KingofSpades

    in 2012 when she loses to mitt romney. they will both lose to obama.

    this is my nostradamus prediction - oct. 2009

    but really, not sure what this means for republicans. i suspect people will claim "independence" and just vote for one party or the other in the privacy of the booth... unless viable 3rd candidates and platforms emerge from the trend, it just sounds like what you say - some republicans are disenfranchised with their new no/south party; independents and maybe some dems are tired of waiting or getting swindled. that blows over with reform, i think - which, i think, is coming.

  •  Bob McDonnell will be the nominee in 2012 (0+ / 0-)

    I know you think I'm crazy, but I have a time machine.

    "the government is full of vampires!" - Glenn Beck

    by superHappyInDC on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:37:50 PM PDT

  •  It is a combination of Republicans calling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    themselves independent and a loss of some Democrats as they abandon more in the name of pragmatism. Republicans are calling themselves independent more so to win more people to conservatism or libertarianism with which they can pressure the Republican party further Right-wards. There are some moderate conservative Republicans that are leaving but they are not the majority - most of these people voted Dem after 2006 and the Obama campaign.  That leaves those Democrats who are upset about Obama and the elected Dems who have abandoned trade policy reform, who helped with the Bank Bailout, maybe some people in the gay rights movement and those who just see ineptitude when looking at the Dems - basically disaffected voters who have no options. Its seems to me that the Republicans disaffected are way more effective in getting their parties attention with the Tea Parties and the use of online organizing and think tanks.

    Overall 2010 doesn't look that excellent unless Dems can appeal to disaffected voters on both sides - through real Health care Reform (for the disaffected Dems and eventually those who will benefit from an expansion of coverage), Financial Reform and a timeline for repayment for loans and for when the toxic assets are sold, the FED audit might also be a way for Democrats to win more support among both. The climate change bill will most likely turn everyone off - because the oil companies will not let anything that is need to be passed and because the PR firms will win a lot of low information voters. This will result in a watered down bill that will most likely suppress voters with an Environmentalist outlook. Continuing the Afghanistan war will likely lose Dems some votes and Republicans who come out against it might pick up a few.

    Just my two cents. I am sure that there is more to these numbers but I think that covers a lot. Oh yeah, did I mention doing something about the jobs situation? Because that is HUGE too.

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:53:25 PM PDT

  •  Some of the newly independent... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thethinveil, KingofSpades

    are doubtless tea-baggers who consider the Republican Party too liberal or too institutionalized for them.  If you ever catch any of the lesser-known whacked-out talk radio out there, the hosts claim to be conservative, and vehemently not necessarily Republican.  These folks are not in the center between Democrats and Republicans but rather even farther right than Republicans.  In a two-way race, they will choose the Republican (or possibly (hopefully) just stay home).  These are true-believing wingers who are pulling the Republican Party rightward.  In an election year, they'll come home.  I'm not saying these guys represent a majority of the independents, just that they are probably a considerable portion of the newly independent and explain some of the recent departures from the Republican Party.

  •  An animal is most dangerous when backed into a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    corner.

    It's the source of a lot of the violent rhetoric you hear today, but progress cannot be stopped by the violent lying animals the Republicans have become.

    "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 12:14:31 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely, and they know that on the House side. (0+ / 0-)

      But the Senate is so bogged down with procedural rules BS, it is hard as nails to make progress.

      They made their choice.

      by KingofSpades on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 12:20:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL. I meant long term progress (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingofSpades

        The kind that doesn't occur in Washington, but in the minds and hearts of the people.  I believe that the world becomes more just because of the work of good people - it may take a lifetime, or many lifetimes, but human progress is inevitable; in this I have faith.

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 12:26:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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