The political composition of U.S. adults held fairly steady in 2010 compared with 2009. Conservatives remained the largest group, followed by moderates and then liberals. At 35%, the percentage of moderates has declined to a new low, highlighting the increased political polarization that has occurred over the past decade....While the political pendulum in Washington can swing widely, Americans' political ideology, like their party identification, tends to shift more gradually. Such a shift has been underway in recent years. While the changes are not large, they are unmistakable. Moderates are growing fewer in number while the percentages of conservatives and liberals have expanded. Conservatism has gained ground among Republicans and independents, while the growth in liberalism is strictly among Democrats.
Liberals will look at the Gallup poll and have an immediate response: "What about 2008? Liberalism won in that year."
Sure about all that, Nancy? Obama ran as a sane, cool-headed moderate. Conservatives warned that St. Barry was a flaming lefty, but most voters either couldn't be bothered to dig too deeply into Obama's troubling ideological pedigree or just didn't think it was that big a deal considering the Bamster's GOP opponent. In 2008, Republican George Bush was presiding over a crumbling economy and two foreign wars, one of which was fairly unpopular. John McCain ran a weak-willed feckless campaign that did much to alienate and demoralize his very necessary conservative base. When he did do something right--like pick Sarah Palin for VP--the campaign promptly misused that most valuable asset when it couldn't afford even the slightest mistake. If the Democrats couldn't win big in that electoral year, they were never going to score a major victory.
Again, how did the Donkey-Punchers get their wins in '08 and '06? (I throw 2006 in because it set the table for the unified Democrat government of the last two years.) They ran guys such as Bob Casey, Jon Tester and James Webb, men who could pull off a fake-o-la centrist political stance when needed. Look at the Democrat campaign messages in those years. 'Open, honest, transparent government'. 'Most ethical congress ever.' '95% of Americans will see a tax cut.' The self-description we got from the Democrats in 2006-2008 could be summed up as: "We're in the middle of the road and we're not Bush. Pretty please vote for us and we'll be your BFF's."
By the fall of 2008, Dubya was seen as ideologically brittle and only slightly more popular than raw sewage, shin splints and homelessness. Running in the middle while opposing Bush was smart strategy for the Democrats. However, while it may have been the politically intelligent move, it was not--and is not--what anybody would consider openly left-wing.
Liberalism did not win in 2006. It did not win in 2008. Instead, it cloaked itself in moderation, a reasonable tone and...in the case of Barack Obama... a pretty princess visage. While the Left bided it's time, George Bush, Denny Hastert and most of the elected GOPers busied themselves with soiling the party's small government brand.
Once the Left ascended in 2008, with it's big congressional majorities and an ideologically copacetic presidency, how did it govern? Like progressive statists, of course. Now, if liberalism were truly on the rise, why did America's left-of center party get creamed in the off-year elections of 2009 and subsequently pummelled in the 2010 midterms?
The Gallup poll gives us some very important lessons about American politics. First, it shows just how aberrational the 2008 election was in relation to the ideology of the America electorate. More importantly, the Gallup data indicates that US voters will be potentially quite receptive to conservative policy initiatives if these ideas are articulated and fought for with vigor.
Cross-Posted at Blog De KingShamus. Big ups to the rad Baldilocks for letting me hang out and post here.