The Happy Leftie

For lefties and other normal people who have considered suicide when the mainstream 'news' was enuf

Giving you something to be happy about for over 40 days • Stop by often and get your 'happy' on!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

If we have won independents, we have won the election

If we have won independents, we have won the election.
--Chuck Schumer on a March 29th conference call with bloggers.

This election will be a referendum on Bush.
--Rahm Emmanuel on a March 29th conference call with bloggers.

Most members will be elected with between 80% and 100% of their support coming from Republicans.
--Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen in a March 3rd memo to RNC Chair Ken Mehlman.

The difficulty for President Bush here is that he is noticeably less popular among independents than one would expect of a president with a 38% overall approval rating. Instead, his approval among independents is some 9-10% below what we might expect based on other presidents.
--Political science professor Charles Franklin, March 4

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"
Independents: 28% Approve, 62% Disapprove
--CBS News Poll. March 9-12, 2006. N=1,136 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults)

Among independents, the number approving of Bush's job performance has fallen from 47% in January 2005 to 26% today
--Pew Center for People and the Press, March 15

1. Bush's overall approval rating is 79 percent among Republicans and 14 percent among Democrats-a gap of 65 points. But his rating is also just 29 percent among independents, producing a very sizable gap of 50 points relative to GOP identifiers. Put another way, independents are 50 points away from Republicans, but just 15 points away from Democrats.

2. Only 20 percent of independents believe the country is going in the right direction, a mere 12 points more than the comparable figure among Democrats-but 37 points less than the figure among Republicans.

3. Twenty-six percent of independents approve of Bush's handling of the economy (66 percent disapprove), 14 points more than the number of Democrats who approve-but 44 points less than the number among Republicans.

4. Twenty-six percent of independents approve of Bush's handling of the Iraq situation-15 points more than Democrats; 43 points less than Republicans.

5. On handling the campaign against terrorism, 38 percent of independents approve of the job Bush is doing. That's 11 points more than Democrats, but 45 points less than Republicans.

6. How about whether Bush has "the same priorities for country as you have"? Sixty-nine percent of Republicans agree, but just 11 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independents.

7. Was removing Saddam Hussein from power worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq? Only 30 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats say yes, compared to 70 percent among Republicans.

8. And what should the US do now? Just 24 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents believe we should "stay in Iraq as long as it takes to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy" (the administration position), compared to 61 percent of Republicans.
--Ruy Teixeira, October 13th 2005, in coining the term Indycrats

Here is an eye-opening fact about the Survey USA 50-state tracking released today: in every single state, Independent approval of Bush was closer to Democratic approval of Bush than Independent approval of Bush was to Republican approval of Bush. That was the case in every state. Fifty out of fifty. Massachusetts and Utah. California and Alabama. New York and Idaho. In every single state in the country, Independents were more in line with Democrats than they were with Republicans.In fact, in thirty-three states, the difference between Democratic approval of Bush and Independent approval of Bush was less than half the difference between Republicans and Independents. In twelve states, the difference was three times as great. Nationwide, Democrats were more than 25 points closer to Independents than were Republicans.
--Chris Bowers, August 17, 2005

It's an alignment I've not seen in many years, since '98 probably. What it says is that Independents and Democrats have a potential new majority, apart from the lockstep Republicans. Post Sept. 11th's upswing of non-partisanship, and then all through 2004, the Independents remained in the 50-50 range in reaction to Bush. Now they've shifted, and further, have aligned with Democrats. Rove's got to do something, because this puts Bush in dangerous territory. Gone are the 50-50 days, and approaching are the 40-60 days.
--Jerome Armstrong, June 24, 2005

For the 2006 elections, Democrats cannot increase their advantage among independents any further than they already have. This is the largest Democratic lead among independents in 24 years, and historically is only clearly surpassed by the advantage they held among independents in 1974.

Given this lead among Independents, there has to come a time when Democrats realize that success in this election depends less on continuing to target and appeal to Independents, and more on building a political machine that can make their current appeal and potential majority into a reality at the ballot box. At the same time, there needs to come a point within the progressive activist base when we realize that in our lifetimes it is entirely possible that there will never be a better opportunity than 2006 to wreck permanent damage on the conservative movement and all for which it stands. Pass up this chance, and the next time an opportunity of this level comes around there is a good chance you will be either dead or retired. I do not doubt that the 2005-2006 election cycle has seen a significant increase in progressive grassroots and netroots electoral activism over previous cycles, as Schumer indicated yesterday. However, considering the degree to which progressive grassroots electoral activism was all but dead in the 1990's, that really isn't saying much.

The potential for progressive netroots and grassroots electoral activism is much, much larger than its current level. For this to happen, there needs to be a reinvigorated belief among all Democrats that we can in fact win. For this to happen, there needs to be at least some increased transfer of resources away from constantly appealing to Independents, and toward invigorating progressive activists. For this to happen, there needs to be a greater embrace among congressional Democrats of at least the courage and the bravery of people like Murtha and Feingold, even if they don't want to embrace their particular stances. For this to happen, there needs to be action on the part of people like Murtha and Feingold to become leaders of the activist base, and regularly speak to their concerns in a way that will keep them motivated for 2006. For this to happen, there needs to be a strategy for Democrats beyond just watching, and assisting in, Republican implosion. For this to happen, there need to be a wider recognition among progressive activists as to just how rare and precious this opportunity actually is.