Via Political Wire we have more evidence of the trend I have discussed in multiple other posts. A Democaracy Corps strategy memo reviews recent polling data showing a shift towards Democrats. Among the factors:
- The “opinion elite” in the country — those with a college education and earning more than $75,000 — support a Democratic presidential candidate by an 11 point margin.
- Independents have defected from Republican candidates and now support a Democrat for president by 19 points.
This is consistent with other recent data I have reviewed, such as increased support for Democrats from affluent suburbs.
What must be remembered is that these polls are for generic Democrats versus generic Republicans. Democrats won in 2006 due to the support of independents and many who previously voted Republican, such as the “Starbucks Republicans” and “South Park Republicans.” Some Democrats understand how to bridge the former party divides and attract the support of us independents. Others, such as John and Elizabeth Edwards do not. There has also been increased talk about Hillary Clinton’s negatives recently. In contrast, Bill Richardson and Barack Obama are taking the lead among independents, with many believing that Richardson will soon replace the badly struggling John Edwards as the number three candidate nationally.
Whether the lead for Democrats on the generic ballot is translated into victory, or whether Democrats risk another extended period out of office, depends upon which the direction the party takes. Unfortunately many see the choices as a false dichotomy between the far left and the policies of the DLC when neither views are attractive to many independents. While there is no doubt a variety of views in us independents who have voted Democratic, most of us oppose the war, oppose the social polices of the far right, but have no interest in the populist economics of John Edwards and have concerns about the true adherence to the principles we support by both Edwards and Clinton.