05/02/2007 - Are the aspirants for the Republican presidential nomination, who square off in their first debate on Thursday evening, wasting their time? After all, broad measures of voter sentiment strongly suggest that a substantial majority of the public wants change and therefore may likely vote Democratic come November 2008, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Most Americans are dissatisfied with national conditions and President Bush's approval ratings are as low as they were when his party lost control of the Congress in the fall.
Beyond discontent with the White House, Pew's longitudinal polling on political values finds the current attitudinal landscape more favorable to the Democrats. Support for policy positions such as strengthening the social safety net has steadily increased in recent years, along with growing public concern about income inequality. At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the Republican resurgence in the mid-1990s have moderated. The proportion of the public supporting traditional social values has edged downward since 1994, as has the proportion of Americans expressing strong personal religious commitment.
The polling also documented a dramatic change in party affiliation. In 2002, the country was equally divided along partisan lines: 43% identified with the Republican Party or leaned to the GOP, while an identical proportion said they were Democrats or Democratic-leaners. Today, half of the public (50%) lines up with the Democratic Party, compared with 35% who align with the GOP.
Read the full report The Republicans Can't Possibly Win in '08...or Can They? on the Pew Research Center Web site.