A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Friday, January 10, 2014

Growing Number Of Republicans Are Leaving Their Party



These charts were made from information in Gallup Polls. The latest Gallup Poll surveyed 18,871 randomly chosen nationwide adults during 2013, and has a margin of error of only 1 point. And it shows an interesting fact about the party identification of the American people. A record number of Americans (about 42%) are now refusing to identify themselves as belonging to either of the two major political parties. They are instead calling themselves Independents (and it is the highest percentage of Independents since Gallup has been polling about party identification).

You may think that this growth in Independents is the result of desertions from both parties, but that is not the case. Note that in the chart above, while party ID for Democrats has moved slightly up and down, it is very similar to what it was a decade ago (within the 1 point margin of error). It was 32% in 2002 and is 31% in 2013 (and has been at the same level for the last four years). While the public at large may be unhappy with both parties, Democrats are not -- and they are sticking with their party.

The same cannot be said for the Republican Party. Since 2002, the GOP has dropped 8 points -- from 33% in 2002 to only 25% in 2013. That's a significant 24.2% drop in party membership. And interestingly, Independents have grown by that same 8 point margin since 2002 -- from 34% in 2002 to about 42% in 2013. It seems that a growing number of people no longer wish to be associated with the hard-hearted and misguided policies being pursued by Republican leaders.

I believe this comes from the insistence of Republican leaders to give more to the rich, while ignoring the needs of other Americans -- especially those Americans still struggling to recover from the Bush recession. Americans, even some in the Republican base, don't like the austerity being forced on hurting Americans. They want those hurt by the recession to be helped to get back on their feet, and they want hard-working Americans to get a fair and livable wage for their work (knowing that a good wage is the best way out of poverty).

This is verified by another new survey -- the Quinnipiac University Poll (conducted between January 4th and 7th of 1,487 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of 2.5 points). The charts below, made from the Quinnipiac information, shows that a significant majority of people in all groups (except for Republicans and those making over $100,000) want to see the extended unemployment benefits restored.  And a majority of every single group (including Republicans) want the minimum wage to be raised. Republican leaders in Congress are bucking the tide of public opinion with the stands they have taken on these issues -- and embarrassing the moderates in their base (many of whom are starting to leave the party).



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