To follow up on my post from last night, liberalism is getting stronger among base voters as well as politicians.
It's more antiwar than at any time since 1972. Support is growing for such traditionally liberal values as using the federal government to help the poor. And 40 percent of Democrats now call themselves liberal, the highest in more than three decades and twice the low-water mark recorded as the conservative Reagan revolution swept the country in the early 1980s...
The Democrats' shift to the left carries some risk, but probably much less than it would have in years past. That's because independent voters - the ones who swing back and forth and thus decide elections - also have turned against the war and in favor of many more liberal approaches to government...
Fewer than half of Democrats now agree with the adage that military strength is the best way to secure peace, a drop of 16 percentage points in the last decade, according to a series of polls by the Pew Research Center.
Independents also lost faith in the value of military strength over the same period, though their support dropped by only half as much as Democrats' did. Republicans' trust in military strength increased by 7 percentage points.
Another measure: The ranks of Democrats who think that the federal government should guarantee food and shelter to the needy rose by 12 percentage points in the last 10 years, outstripping rising support from independents and Republicans.
Then there's the eye-catching fact that 40 percent of Democrats in last year's elections called themselves liberal, according to the American National Election Studies, a research project supported by the National Science Foundation. That's the highest since the survey began in 1972.
The party also is turning against free trade, as Democrats in Congress put the brakes on new trade agreements out of fear that they're displacing too many American jobs and driving down wages and benefits.
While the hard core right-wing base is actually becoming more right-wing in the Republican Party, with even stronger support for military force, there is a part of the Republicans that can be peeled off through an appeal to culturally conservative rhetoric and a perceived anti-DC populism. The Obama camp loves this statistic.
Giuliani's support, 10 percent, decreased by almost 8.5 percent. McCain's support has collapsed in Iowa. His support among registered Republicans dropped from 14.4 percent in March to 1.8 percent in July-August. UI political scientists note that McCain has been passed in popularity not only by former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., who earned 5.2 percent support, but also by a Democratic challenger, Obama, who is supported by 6.7 percent of Republicans. No other candidate received more than 3 percent support.
Who are these Republicans? I've heard anecdotally they exist, and there are stats like this. The renewed liberal strength in the Democratic Party and among independents, along with a slice of Republicans, is a real realignment. You all know that I don't trust Obama and think this could all evaporate pretty easily. But that doesn't change that this is there for the taking.