06 Jan 2011

New Polling Shows Continued Slide in Support for BOTH Parties

This quote from Gallup sums up recent momentum towards what I call the independent groundswell:

Although 2010 brought some major legislative successes for the Democratic majority, it was not a good year for the party politically. In addition to losing control of the House of Representatives and seeing the number of Democratic senators and governors reduced, the party saw its support among the general population drop to tie its 22-year low.

However, even as Republicans were enjoying great electoral success, the percentage of Americans identifying with the GOP, the core base of the party, barely increased. Instead, the major movement in American politics since 2008 seems to be away from the Democratic Party and toward independent political status, rather than alignment with the GOP. Still, the Republican Party appeared to capitalize on many independents’ frustration with the majority Democratic Party, in much the same way the Democrats capitalized on independents’ frustration with the Republicans between 2006 and 2008.

Its worth noting that previous to 2008 it was the republicans who were seeing an exodus into the independent camp. As the pendulum swings back and forth, the parties move farther and farther away from the center, and both parties fail to solve so many of the issues facing our country each year… I only seeing this trend continue in the medium term.

Read more at Gallup »

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3 thoughts on “New Polling Shows Continued Slide in Support for BOTH Parties”

  1. This is interesting. I sense an opportunity for a new political party to form, but the momentum just isn't there yet. At least not like it is for the Tea Party. Those folks made real, tangible progress in a short period of time.

    My guess is that at least two needed things are missing before independents will coalesce into an organized force. One is a lack of emotion needed to rally people around a cause. The second is a coherent cause to rally around.

    As for the coherent cause, all I can think of is a party grounded largely in pragmatic reality and rejection of political and religious ideology. That is an alternative that none of the existing parties and movements, like the Tea Party, offer. For people who are more comfortable with "conservative" ideology, they have the Republican, Libertarian and various other Conservative third party options. "Liberals" have the Democratic, Green and Socialist parties. Religious people have nascent third parties grounded largely in religion and usually very conservative politics. But, as I see it, pragmatic realists ("moderates" as I define it) have essentially no option. They have to fall into one of the existing groups or float around as independents.

    Of course, there is another definition of "moderate", i.e., someone who generally seeks compromise between Democrats and Republicans. In one sense that is pragmatic because there are no other powers to deal with. If you don't compromise with them, you get nowhere.

    The problem with that approach as I see it is that sometimes compromise between the two does not make sense. Sometimes what Democrats want makes sense. Sometimes what Republicans want makes sense. Sometimes (often, I suspect) what neither wants makes sense. A moderate grounded in pragmatic reality (common sense) and serving the public interest over special interests may on average be better able to see these options than a moderate looking largely for compromise. That is because the two sides (Democrats and Republicans) often present us with two highly spun versions of reality and two, often mutually exclusive, solutions.

    I think the world is more complicated than that. For many contested political issues, I think that there are usually three or more reasonable options. However, the ones that don't fit existing ideology or that threaten a powerful special interest with money and lobbyists never get a fair or honest airing with the public. As I see it, that is a major source of why our political situation is in such an awful state of failure. That failure is probably why many people flee from both parties and register as independents. Those folks have no coherent voice that gives them real options. At least, that's how I see it.

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