AP Poll: More say they're Democrats
WASHINGTON - More people say they are Democrats than said so before voting started in this year's presidential contests while the number of Republicans has remained flat, a survey showed Thursday.
The poll showed 52 percent call themselves Democrats, up from 45 percent in an AP-Ipsos survey in mid-December. Thirty-five percent say they are Republicans, about the same as December's 37 percent.
I can't remember this happening before, and a quick Google search isn't giving me any good background. But in general, both parties tend to take numbers well below half with independents, moderates and third party voters making up the middle ground which both need to fight for. Coming into a hotly contested campaign, having more than half of the nation identifying with your opponent's party is troubling to say the least.
The linked article also touches on what I still feel is the bigger, but most under-reported story of this season.
There has also been far higher turnout in Democratic presidential primaries this year than in GOP contests, in part reflecting that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama continue grappling for the nomination.
There are a number of districts in various states reporting primary turnouts for the Democrats more than 500% above the levels seen in 2004 or 2000, while Republican turnout remains relatively flat. These numbers, according to exit polls, include unprecedented rates of new voter registration, with many of these being people who have never registered to vote before.
Particularly in some of the purple - formerly red - states, GOTV could be the real "shock and awe" of this election. Enough new voters for one party can swing a state over which was formerly considered "safe" for the Republicans. It would be nice to see a presidential candidate carry the 271 electoral vote barrier by more than single digits for a change, providing more of a real mandate from the electorate going into their first term.
This is all, of course, still too early to call conclusive by any means, but the trends certainly look interesting. Then again, the Democrats are nothing if not famous for their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so we'll need to see how the primary battle plays out before drawing any more solid conclusion.