Many on the left (e.g., Time magazine) are eager to write the Republican Party’s obituary. It certainly seems that the tide has been running strongly against the GOP lately–or, at least, it was until last November. Actually, since then our news media have studiously averted their eyes from the main change in voters’ perceptions of the parties–a growing sense of dismay at the havoc Democrats are wreaking in Washington.
This proposition is well illustrated by this chart, prepared on the basis of Rasmussen surveys between October 2008 and May 2009 by Yuval Levin at the Corner. Click to enlarge:
The shift of public opinion in the Republicans’ favor is striking: a 12-point swing on the economy, a 10-point swing on national security, an 11-point swing on taxes, and so on.
It’s worth noting that little or none of this shift is due to anything Republicans have done; rather, it is a function of voters’ observations of the Democrats in power. When the Republicans were in power, the Democrats were “the other guys.” Now that the Democrats are in power, they are being transformed, in the public’s view, into “the power-crazed guys who are amazingly liberal, spend money like water, don’t care about national security and are laying the foundation for massive tax increases and destruction of the free enterprise system.” Small wonder that their appeal is rapidly diminishing.