In recent Harris Interactive polls, the number of respondents who refuse to acknowledge a preference for either party has risen to about 25 percent of the electorate from about 12 percent for most of the last decade.Probably? What about all the Democrats -- myself included -- who lost their party affiliation over 9/11. Does anyone even want to get out my vote? Actually, I'm contacted by the Democratic party constantly. They're desperately pushing me to vote. Governor Doyle's campaign just sent me a form to apply to vote by mail. ("Anyone in Wisconsin can vote by mail... No special reason required.") Actually, there's a good chance I won't vote!
Much of this increase in independents, he said, is probably accounted for by former Republican voters not quite willing to say they lean Democratic, but also unlikely to turn out this year.
Back to Kirkpatrick:
[P]olls showing Democrats poised for big gains this fall in both chambers of Congress are reigniting the debate: Can Democrats crack apart the Reagan coalition of white blue-collar workers, evangelical Protestants, Southerners and chambers of commerce? Or will shifts in population toward the outer suburbs, the South and the West combine with the Democrats’ secular, liberal Northeastern image to keep the party a minority in national elections for years to come?...It's a grisly business, this definition and manipulation of voting blocs.
The Democrats’ hope is that the war changes the reputations of the two parties in a way that may ultimately lead to remaking their constituencies as well...
“Iraq is the squandering of the national security premium the Republicans have been living on,” [Democratic pollster Ruy] Teixeira said. The Republicans’ failure at “standing up” to foreign threats, he argued, had diminished their credibility on a whole cluster of “values” issues like “standing up for what is right” as well.
That, he contended, is vindicating his argument for a Democratic ascendance: if the Democrats can cut their margin of defeat among white workers, they can build a durable national majority from their coalition of professionals, women, African-Americans and the fast-growing Hispanic population. Although Mr. Bush’s popularity with Hispanics at one time threatened to dislodge them from the Democratic bloc, the Republican moves this year to build a wall along the Mexican border has effectively pushed them back.
“That is fatal,” Mr. Teixeira said.