Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Moderates forced out by parties, left and right

Independent voters will decide the Presidency

Feel like you're being lectured when a dyed-in-the-wool Yella Dawg or a Rock-Ribbed Republican start working on you?

Are you tired of hearing all about how the ultra-rich should pay their fair share of taxes, and listening to endless conservative lectures about how a corporation is actually a person, with the same rights and privileges as any human being?

You're not alone. A Pew Research Opinion Poll released this week shows that more voters are independent now that at any time in the past 25 years.

But the attitude adjustment doesn't stop there. Party stalwarts on either side of the political divide say they don't think their party is doing a good job of holding up its traditional values.

In a poll of 3,008 adults, Pew Research learned 38% have rejected their former party loyalty; they now call themselves independent.

Of all those surveyed, only 32 percent vote as Democrats, and a scant 24 percent think of themselves as Republicans.

Nearly half of those born since 1981 identify themselves as being inclined to vote for the candidate, and not the party line.

Of the 56 percent who say they remain faithful to either the Party of Jefferson, or the Party of Lincoln, all are more partisan than ever, and their attitudes are farther apart than at any time since 1987.

Researchers approached the voters they quizzed with a list of 48 questions designed to show the differences in their basic political values. Such questions as whether government regulation helps or hurts business and just how involved should government become in people's personal lives lead the list; issues of exactly what is to be considered wasteful government spending is driving those who occupy the middle ground into the independent column.

Here's a clue. Conservative Republicans who now dominate the House of Representatives have had trouble adopting a budget that actually cuts spending, while their counterparts in the Senate are consigned to blocking liberal legislation from getting to the Oval Office.

The bottom line is that independents are evenly divided between Obama and Romney, where in 2008, they broke out at a majority of 52 percent favoring Obama, and only 44 percent for McCain.

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