If you’re like me, and would rather see a Republican, than a Democrat in the White House, you may agree with me that it’s unnerving, to say the least, that Democrats now outnumber Republicans in poll responses:
A recent Pew poll showed a sharp change in Americans’ political-party identification: Democrats now outnumber Republicans 50 percent to 35 percent, as opposed to 2002, when both had 43 percent. These numbers may overstate the Democratic advantage. They measure all adults rather than just voters, and Pew’s numbers in 2004 and 2006 were more Democratic than the exit polls. Still, the trend is clear.
Michael Barone doesn’t see the numbers meaning anything too significant, however. He advances a Blair scenario (when Blair took over after Thatcher’s conservatives imploded); an Ike scenario (when Ike took over after Truman stumbled badly in Korea); and a Perot scenario (when a third party candidate emerged seemly from nowhere). In each case, he believes the situation isn’t right for a repeat of these historical outcomes. However, his article left me a little confused. For example, as part of the Ike scenario, he noes that, just as Ike looked like a strong wartime leader, so too do Guiliani and McCain (whom I’d vote for only if forced). However, he quickly discounts them as being tied to the War. This doesn’t take into account the fact that Americans still seem to believe in the War’s importance and in winning the War; they just don’t believe in Bush’s leadership skills. They could well vote for someone who wouldn’t retreat, but would actually charge.In any event, I believe that another reason why we need not panic just yet lies in the fact that this is an unusual presidential election. By 2008, for the first time in 56 years, both candidates will have no direct ties to the White House (that is, if you believe, as I do that Hillary’s past “co-presidency” is meaningless). In every other election, one of the candidates was either an incumbent President or an incumbent Vice President (with 1968 offering both a current and former Vice President for public consumption).
A lot of analysts (especially on the Left side of the political spectrum) seem to forget how very important this historical anomaly is. This accounts for their bewilderment that, in hypothetical elections, Republicans are polling better than Democrats, no matter how much money Democrats are taking to the bank. (Richard Baehr, by the way, advances the hypothesis that real numbers show that it’s Obama, not Hillary, who is the big money winner.)
The problem, I believe, is the “progressive” media outlets and thinkers are confusing increasing dislike for President Bush with dislike for his policies. They believe that, with Bush out of favor, voters will inevitably turn to the Democrats. In this, they forget out important it is that Cheney isn’t running. Normally, a VP who runs for office wins the primary, but then carries with him all the baggage accumulated during the last Presidency. Here, however, for the first time in decades, the voters can evaluate candidates from both parties without being hindered by the Leviathan of a previous administration. And frankly, most sensible voters will take a Giuliani, a Romney, or even a McCain, seasoned men all of them, over Barack “Chance” Obama, Hillary “the amoral Ice Queen” Clinton, and John “Barbie” Edwards.