This morning I came across one of the most remarkable pieces of poll data I’ve seen in a long time, in the Quinnipiac University poll that was released yesterday. The poll has generally been cited for its finding that Americans are highly optimistic about 2006; by a margin of 79% to 10%, respondents say that they expect 2006 to be better for them personally than 2005.
But here is what I found stunning. Respondents were also asked whether 2005 had been better for them personally than 2004. By a 53% to 33% margin, they said it was better rather than worse. But look at the partisan breakdown behind that number:
Q.: Do you think 2005 was better or worse than 2004 for you personally?
Note that the question was not about the direction of the country, or about any aspect of current affairs; respondents were asked how 2005 was for “you personally.” It’s a generally accepted fact, I think, that Republicans tend to be happier and more optimistic people than Democrats. Still, I find these results astonishing. The only apparent explanation is that Democrats–not just the activists and political junkies, but millions and millions of Democrats–were so depressed over President Bush’s re-election that they perceived 2005 as a bad year for them “personally.”
This explains, I guess, the venom and persistence with which the Democrats attack the Bush administration. It appears that millions of them really believe that President Bush is ruining their lives! There are lots of Democrats, apparently, who need to take a deep breath, get over the last election, and cheer up.