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Posts Tagged ‘Democrat’

The Fear Factor? Upending the conventional wisdom on Independent Voters

March 26th, 2012

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Why do many continue to be afraid to call an Independent an Independent? In a recent article, Jamelle Bouie argued that a paper we authored at Third Way showing that Independents are in fact Independent is incorrect. Mr. Bouie argues that Independents are a myth and neither party should try to appeal to them. While his comments are appreciated, he misses the boat on the data. His main critique is that we cherry-picked the election years used in our recent Leaners Don’t Fall report to ensure they represented the most conservative period in American history. Sadly, we didn’t pick the election years. We would prefer if the well-respected American National Election Studies had continued the panel study and had data at least through 2008. But they only conducted this survey for 3 elections—2000, 2002, and 2004. But even these three years are very illuminating. Independents, we found, were far more likely to switch allegiance than either Democrats or Republicans. By 2004, 38% of Democratic-leaning Independents—Independents who said they leaned towards the Democratic party in the 2000 election—voted Republican; less than one-quarter of even self-identified “weak” Democrats pulled the lever for the other side.

In addition, 2004 was not as conservative of a year as some like to think. The electorate was split 37%-37% between Democrats and Republicans, with 26% Independents. Seems like an even fight to us. Mr. Bouie suggests the wave Democratic elections of 2006 and 2008 would have given us different results. But that likely would have shown that Independents are capable of swinging back—not that they don’t swing at all. And 2010 would show that they swung yet again. In 2008, Independents voted for Democrats in the House ballot by 8 points. In 2010, Republicans won Independents by 19. That’s a 27 point shift in 2 years!  Clearly Independents are not a stable voting bloc. They actually swing—our point precisely. Let’s not pretend that Independents are phantoms. Believing they don’t exist may send them running to the other side.

Is Mitt Romney’s manager cred losing its value?

February 14th, 2012

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This piece originally appeared in Politico.

Mitt Romney could end up being the most hapless presidential nominee since Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Romney aims to lead a party whose base is in revolt — against him. Just like liberals were in revolt against Humphrey in 1968.

Antiwar liberals rioted in the streets of Chicago at the 1968 Democratic convention. It’s hard to imagine conservatives rioting in the streets of Tampa at this year’s Republican convention. Street riots are not their style. But Tea Party activists are pretty good at making their feelings known. And their feelings about Romney are not enthusiastic.

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White-hot politics, cool president

January 10th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

Jared Lee Loughner, who has now been charged in the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, has been described as a disturbed young man. Early scraps of evidence suggest his politics are a jumble. His list of “favorite books” veers from far left with “The Communist Manifesto” to far right with “Mein Kampf.” It includes dystopian literature, such as “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World” and “Fahrenheit 451,” rallying cries against authority with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and fantasies that include “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

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