Has Realignment Already Happened--On The Ground?

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 19:05

Looking through Pollster.com yesterday, I found a link back to a Pew survey in October that had tracking poll data for Dems, Reps and leaners on a nearly monthly basis since January 2006, and annually before that since 1987 (except for 1988).  The shift in partisan identification was dramatic, and seems to indicate a substantial increase in shift between 2004 and 2006. In fact, the Democratic partisan advantage--with leaners--has already increased as much since 2006 as it increased between 2004 and 2006.

Add that to the increased turnout among Democratic voters in presidential election years, and there is every indication that we will indeed have a second consecutive wave election in the House, which is the hallmark of a realigning presidential election as well.

Pew tables on the flip.

Paul Rosenberg :: Has Realignment Already Happened--On The Ground?
Pew Center Partisan Tracking Poll
Rep &
Dem &
October, 20072537333*2111736541218
September, 20072732326*38163548513
August, 200726323251410163648612
July, 20072732344*311173849511
June, 20072534326*310173551916
April, 20072528405*21317384537
March, 20072536333*3121637521115
February, 20072534344*310183552917
Mid-January, 20072435343*4121836531117
Early-January, 20072331394*312183549814
December, 20062535325*3111736521016
Mid-November, 20062536324*391834541120
Late October, 200626323351310163648612
Early October, 20062734333*312153949710
Early September, 20063034303*31014404848
August, 20063033304*31214424735
July, 20062933314121114404747
June, 20062934314*211164050510
April, 20062932305*41014394637
Early April, 20062932333*31216414837
March, 20062834304*411153949610
February, 20063033313*31116414938
January, 20062832325*31015384749
Yearly Totals
2001 Post-9/1130.931.827.
2001 Pre-9/1128.234.629.
199629.232.733.05.212.715.6    3.5 
199531.429.733.45.414.412.9    -1.7 
199429.831.833.84.614.312.6    2.0 
199327.433.834.04.811.814.7    6.4 
199227.732.735.73.913.815.8    5.0 
199130.931.433.24.514.610.8    0.5 
199031.    2.1 
198933.033.034.0       0.0 
198726.035.039.0       9.0 
* My Projections: Average of monthly polls from 2007, assumes equal weight and continued yearly average

Several things are worth noting:

(1) The dramatic effect of 9/11, causing an 8.6% swing to the GOP (with leaners) from 2001 before 9/11 to 2001 afterwards.  Never in US history, one might argue, has such a spectacular failure been so dramatically rewarded.  But, then, how did Bush get there in the first place?

(2) That loss in partisan advantage was not made up until 2005--when the Democratic advantage (with leaners) returned to 8.3%, a full 1.1% higher than it had been in 2001 before 9/11.  Significantly, this only happened after the 2004 elections.

(3) I checked my my projection method for 2006, and found that this method produced a partisan difference--with leaners--of 9.9%, as opposed to the 9.5% figure in the Pew annual tables.  This could easily reflect cumulative rounding effects, along with differences in sample sizes.

Adjusting the cumulative difference of 14.0% downward by a corresponding 0.4%, to 13.1% we get the following trend: the Democratic partisan advantage (with leaners) rose 4.1%, from from 5.4% to 9.5% between 2004 and 2006.  It then rose another 4.1%, from 9.5% to 13.6%, between 2006 and 2007.

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Yeah.... (4.00 / 1)
....I've been expecting the shift towards progressivism that PEW has been showing in their work to start showing up in the electoral process and now it is.

It's of the utmost importance that we educate people that just because you say you are a 'progressive Democrat' that doesn't NOT mean you are. We've got to protect our brand from the likes of Rahmbo and Miss Nancy and to do that we must point out how their cabal of 'Bush Dogs and Bitches' are not, in fact, any sort of 'progressives'.

Witness the campaign of Senator 'Hopeless'. Having been troll rated at dKos for my, perhaps over the top perhaps not, attacks on this protege of the DLC I am determined to speak my mind about who and what I think he is.

'Sellout' about sums it up right now.


Irritation with the feces-flinging monkeys of OrangeLand showing....

In all seriousness we've got to identify who is and who is not on our side and act accordingly. I'd love to see an analysis Ala 'Bush Dogs' taking a hard, fair look at the freshman elected in 2006 whom we still consider our own in an effort to understand how they are evolving in the roles they find themselves playing now that they are in office.

For example...

Senator Jim Webb

Senator John Tester

Rep. McNerney

I think it's something 'we' need to be doing so we can map strategy for the future.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

Local tracking in districts like WA-08 (4.00 / 2)
...shows similar trends.  We have no registration by party ID, so must rely on self-identification, and that's shifting dramatically. It shifted 2004-2006 and has shifted further 2006 to now.

Why Am I NOT Surprised? (0.00 / 0)
The main thing we need is people like you, standing up to give folks the opportunity to rally 'round.  There's a deep hunger for a change in direction.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Hi Darcy (0.00 / 0)
I was curious as to how your effort to conceive/strategize policy with an eye toward '09 wrt Iraq is going (I just got your mailer in my 'box today).

More than that, I think it would be a great thing if you could rally/organize the other netroots/grassroots activists that are running to represent us (even those of us not in your districts) in Congress into your own 'union' or caucus that pledges to end the war in '09-'10 -- I am worried that a potential Democratic trifecta (but with less than 60 votes in the Senate) in '09 might go native with the dominant establishment thinking and decide to keep this disaster going for another three or four years.

From what I have read/seen/heard from folks like you, Eric Massa, Jon Powers, Vic Wulsin, Sam Bennett, Dan Grant, etc., I have great hope for a small but growing caucus of new leaders in the Congress that will legislate for common sense. I think you guys could really drastically amplify your individual campaigns by finding a way to organize and message together. I think the country craves that type of uncommon sense.

Hope to hear your response.

- Ron

[ Parent ]
Ground Zero (4.00 / 1)
Washington State was ground zero for Newt and his true believers.  IIRC, Republicans piscked up six seats in 1994 and (for the first time) defeated the sitting Speaker of the House.  A gain of six seats in a state the size of Washington is ridiculous.  Well, you are one of the two we need to take back.  It's got a Democratic PVI and Reichert's glow from finally arresting the Green River Killer is gone.  Just a congressman and not a very good one,

[ Parent ]
The March Is On (0.00 / 0)
The ultimate goal here is to turn the GOP into what it actually already is--a regional party of the South.  While they picked up seats nationwide in 1994, afterwards they gradualy lost seats back outside the South, while gaining more inside.  2006 saw a massive uptick in losing those seats, heavily concentrated in the Northeast.  But this cycle is an opportunity to significantly expand the roll-back process, just as you say.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
In order to have a realigning Presidential election, (0.00 / 0)
don't you need a President willing to articulate the new alignment?  I guess that McKinley left that to Roosevelt in 1896, and Nixon left it to Reagan to articulate the policies that would be the rallying point for his coalition.

Other than that, however, the Presidents elected in realignments were bold, visionary leaders that fundamentally altered the prevalent norms of American politics.  If Russ Feingold, or perhaps even Al Gore were in the race, I could see it.  But even with large Congressional majorities, wouldn't an Obama or a Clinton campaign just kinda look like a continuation of the politics of the 90s, perhaps with an emphasis on undoing the damage done over the past seven years?  Edwards could conceivably take us in a new direction, but then again, his Congressional record makes me unsure about that.

I don't see how we get a realignment out of this election without either Edwards coming back, a VP acting the gadfly, or Reid getting replaced by an angry progressive willing to put pressure on the new Democratic President.

Yes And No... (0.00 / 0)
Ideally, yes, of course, that's what we'd want.  And I regard it as a real impediment.  But...

First, to clear up a few historical matters:  McKinnley won the realigning election--it was an institutional thing--and Roosevelt tried to take it in a different direction, with only temporary success.  Neither Nixon nor Reagan won realigning elections.  It's why they had to do so much by stealth.

Finally, FDR's original intention was not to be as progressive as he turned out.  The GOP/business community spurned his efforts to work with them, and the end result was a decided shift toward labor and the left.  So even after the election there are opportunities to continue shaping the meaning of a realignment.  And in this we are fortunate to have the internet as a tremendous boon for lateral, peer-to-peer organizing.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
How was 1968 not a realigning election? (0.00 / 0)
Nixon's southern strategy basically cut out a key demographic out of the FDR coalition, and put it into the R column for Presidential politics.  The working conservative majority took over congress around the same time, and had completed the process by 1980. 

And wasn't Roosevelt's general notion of Progressivism the main thrust in American politics until the Republicans threw Wilson under the bus during the whole League of Nations fracas? 

[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
We lost the "Solid South" for the first time in 1948, not to the Republicans but to Strom Thurmond as a "Dixiecrat" due to Hubert Humphrey's speech in support of civil rights and the resulting platform from the 1948 party convention. The Johnson-Goldwater election of 1964 is when we probably truly lost our dominating grip over the Republicans.  With the exception of Carter's sweep-minus-Virginia in 1976, we haven't had a majority of the votes in the electoral college since (many people online seem to think Bill Clinton achieved this in 1992 or 1996, but that is not the case). Nixon, however, didn't come up with the Southern strategy for the 1968 election, but rather formulated it with his advisers as a response to that election. While he swept the entire nation outside of Massachusetts in 1972, the reversal of fortune in the South may have been most significant. (For more info, read "The Emerging Republican Majority" by Kevin Phillips).

It still seems unlikely that we take back the South in the near future, though Virginia is certainly looking promising. Judging by the 2006 elections, I think Florida is more conservative than a lot of us would like to think, and would make a rather difficult target for our nominee.

[ Parent ]
A Realiging Election Must Realign Governing Majorities (0.00 / 0)
You can't have a realigning election unless you end up controlling both Congress and the presidency.  That's why 1968, 1980, and 1994 all fail the test.

Shifting voting blocks is not enough.  That's a difference, but unless it leads to a shift of power, it's not a difference that makes a difference.

There was an argument that the cumulative effect of all those elections, plus the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections gave the GOP a "rolling realignment."  But then came 2006, and what looks quite plausibly to be the beginnings of a true, classical realignment.  A realignment that takes 36 years to complete but only lasts two years is just not much of a realignment.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
is there data on liberal v. conservative? (0.00 / 0)
I have the impression the conservatives are still ahead there.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

Conservatives Were Way Ahead When LBJ Crushed Goldwater (4.00 / 1)
So that's basically a pretty meaningless comparison.

As I've pointed out repeatedly, a sizeable majority of self-identified conservatives are New Deal liberals on social spending, which is really the most fundamental political divide in our country.  Conservative support for other liberal positions is not as broad and deep, but it can be found to varying extents everywhere you look.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
thanks for explaining (0.00 / 0)

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Well...... (4.00 / 2)

.....polls generally don't break things down using those words but Paul's point is that 'conservatism' as represented by the Republican Party here is as popular as the black plague.

I submit it's been that way for a while. Read my post:

Why I am an Idiot!

....and you'll see why I think that way.

Note: Ya gotta clik thru the link to the PEW report and read all 142 pages to really get the gist.

Short form: Americans are not a bunch of racist, jingoist nativist assholes. The corporatist media would have you believe that but it ain't so.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
The 9/11 relaignment (0.00 / 0)
Party ID was static during the five years before 9/11, with Dems showing a 5-8 point lead. Immediately after 9/11, it jumped toward Republicans, and has been trending Democrats every since.

The same things that made people turn to Republicans after 9/11--national security--and the same things turning them away from Republicans now (broadly speaking--there are other issues at stake). Looks like a 9/11 realignment. Karl Rove is actually going to accomplish the opposite of what he hoped to do. 

National Security and Terrorism (0.00 / 0)
We have an advantage, but it is significantly smaller then our advantage on Spending, Taxes, and especially Health Care. National Security isn't driving the realignment to Democrats, its just that many people who would vote Democrat anyway, no longer trust the Republicans with security. But the population at large isn't abandoning the GOP en mass when it comes to National Security.

[ Parent ]
We don't have a big NS lead (0.00 / 0)
But we used to have a big national security deficit. I can't find any numbers right now, but I bet there has been a larger swing in that area  than in any other.

I guess the way I see it is this: people ran to the GOP because of national security, while Dems led in most other areas. However, now that Republicans have lost their national security edge (and their reformer edge, and their "good managers" edge), the other issues are carrying the day.

That is, people may not be choosing Dems because of national security, but they wouldn't be choosing Dems if they hadn't made up the ground on national security. It is pretty late, and I don't know if that makes any sense, but I hope it does.

[ Parent ]
New Gallup Poll Has Figures (0.00 / 0)

They don't have a single category for national security. But the Dems have made up 20 points on fighting terrorism since January 2004, from down 30 to down 10.  They have made up 26 points on Iraq, from down 16 to up 10.  We gained 8 points on the economy--from up 4 to up 12, lost 2 points on taxes, from up 4 to up 2, gained 9 points on health care, from up 21 to up 30.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Gotta say that I'd frame it more as... (4.00 / 1)

.......the ReThugs threw their polling advantages away with bad government and lousy tactics rather than the Dems 'made up' those changes.

Semantics? Maybe?

But where would we be if the Democratic leadership actually had a clue about what the voters are asking for?

I guess we take what's happening while trying to get rid of or neuter the worst of the Rahmbo/Hoyer/Reid crowd.

I'm still worried that this group will be stupid enough to halt the wave with their boneheaded performance on Iraq and oversight.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
clarification... (0.00 / 0)
It makes perfect sense, and the cause/effect relationship is quite logical and predictable.

Let us see if I can phrase it more clearly:

"Republicans have preformed so poorly in the area of national security that they have essentially created a "wash" thereby erasing their advantage over Democrats in perception of the issue and created a situation where voters are instead basing their decisions on other issues, the majority of which Democrats enjoy the advantage in voter perception."

End this war. Stop John McCain. Cindy McCain is filthy rich.

[ Parent ]

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