Since 2004, Gallup has conducted a monthly party affiliation poll party. They ask voters, “In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?” Results from a November 1-6, 2016 poll showed that 31% of voters identified as Democrats, 27% as Republicans and 36% as Independents. A recently conducted poll indicates a significant shift in those numbers. Currently, 27% of voters consider themselves to be Democrats, 29% as Republicans and 38% as Independents.
What to make of the 4% plus in those identifying as Democrats? Did half of these voters make the switch to the Republican column and the other half to the Independent column? That would account for the two point increase in those two categories.
Also, while there have been many fluctuations along the way, a glance at the number of those who identify as Democrats show those figures peaking between October 2018 and February/March 2019. The results ranged between 30 and 35 during those months. A major drop to 26% was seen following the release of the Mueller report and it has failed to recover.
Conversely, those calling themselves Republicans dipped in January of 2019 to a low point of 25%.
A comparison of what was going on in Washington at that time vs. now explains these changes.
1. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was still riding high and Republicans were bracing for the horrors of what his long awaited report might reveal.
2. Democrats were riding high after winning back the House majority in the 2018 midterms. The incoming chairmen of the powerful House committees, such as Reps. Jerry Nadler (Judiciary), Adam Schiff (Intelligence), Maxine Waters (Finance) and Elijah Cummings (Oversight), were feverishly preparing their investigations which they were sure would reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors they needed to get rid of Trump once and for all.
3. We saw the ascendancy of the exciting, audacious new Congresswoman from New York City, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
4. A huge new crop of Democrats were kicking off their 2020 presidential campaigns with radical new ideas to transform the US into a “kinder, gentler” socialist republic. All were touting the Green New Deal, the masterpiece introduced by freshman firebrand AOC, telling voters we only had 12 years left to save the planet.
5. Presidential candidates have shifted farther to the left than at any other period in US history. Ideas which had been considered “radical” and “socialist” when first proposed in 2016 by Bernie Sanders have been adopted by most of the 2020 hopefuls.
1. The Mueller report was released and as hard as he and his team of angry, Hillary-supporting Democrats tried, they failed to find sufficient evidence of collusion or obstruction of justice by the President. Then, Mueller reluctantly appeared before Congress to answer questions about his 22-month-long investigation. His disastrous, humiliating testimony immediately reduced the once feared special counsel to a weary old man who had long ago handed over the reigns to his subordinates.
2. The efforts of House Democrats to impeach President Trump have become, if not a joke, then at least a mere side show. Most amusing is that the average voter couldn’t tell you if Nadler has begun impeachment proceedings or even an impeachment inquiry against Trump if their lives depended on it. No one is paying attention to what he is doing. Both Nadler and his efforts have become irrelevant.
3. Similar to Robert Mueller, the three radical freshmen reps, who had initially taken Washington by storm, have seen their rockstar status fizzle. Their reckless rhetoric, their bigoted statements, and their transparent lust for power have turned them into pretty unsympathetic characters. They forged ahead carelessly without bothering to first acquaint themselves with the ways of Washington believing that by sheer audacity, they could achieve their goals. Better yet, Trump has managed to make these women the face of the Democratic Party.
4. Deeper analysis of the Green New Deal has turned AOC’s signature proposal into a joke. Outside of the far left fringes of the Democratic party, most voters understand that the GND (and other plans based on the GND) is nothing more than a power grab designed to turn America into a socialist nation.
5. The majority of Americans oppose the policies the 2020 Democratic candidates have embraced. Voters are against late term abortion, open borders, free healthcare for illegal immigrants, and they don’t see climate change as an existential threat.
The political landscape has changed dramatically between January, when 32-34% of voters identified as Democrats and the present, when only 27% do. The Democrats may want to rethink their strategy going forward because Americans aren’t buying what they’re selling. Additionally, William Barr’s appointment as Attorney General has upended the Democrat’s Russian collusion narrative to the point where the investigators have now become the investigated. And while the results of one poll don’t tell a story, Democrats have lost a lot of battles in 2019. And it sure looks like the advantage has shifted to the Republicans.