The Incredible Shrinking Democrat Party

Republicans have neither rebuilt their brand nor coalesced around a cogent message to the American people, two facts which have been amply hammered home by media wags on both sides of the aisle. We hear constant discussions of “civil war” among the GOP and the party’s doom has been foretold ad nauseam since Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.

But while the GOP might not have its act together other than to oppose Obama’s policies, it turns out all the Republcans needed was for the country to see the Democrat agenda at work to turn their fortunes around.

A new Rasmussen poll out today has Democrat party identification at the lowest point in the seven years the pollster has measured the makeup of the electorate. Only 35.5 percent of American adults call themselves Democrats, down from 37.8 percent in October and down sharply from 41.7 percent in May of 2008.

Rasmussen’s numbers back up the assertion by many that the GOP hasn’t advanced through its own merits. Republican identification is at 34.0 percent, which is a bit higher than the 31.9 percent figure the GOP posted in October but still a good deal below the 37.3 percent high water mark for the Republican Party in September 2004.

Independent affiliation was 30.6 percent in December, down slightly from 30.8 percent in November, but still up from the 26.6 percent independent affiliation number of January 2009.

Rasmussen also has bad news for Obama’s approval rating. The president’s Approval Index stands at minus-18, with 42 percent of respondents registering strong disapproval of his performance and only 24 percent strongly approving. Obama’s handling of health care and the war on jihadist terrorists hasn’t helped his popularity; by a 47-40 count the American people think states should have the right to opt out of his health care plan, indicating a potential return to federalism among the public, and 58 percent of the American people say Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should have been waterboarded to find out what he knows about Al Qaeda as opposed to Mirandizing him and letting him get a lawyer.

What to make of all this? Every so often, the American people will forget what left-wing government looks like and put Democrats in power. At present, just like in the past, America is getting a snootful and remembering why they threw Democrats out in the first place.

But just because the public might be preparing to initiate an electoral holocaust of Democrat politicians later this year, it’s not an indication that the Republican Party is moving in a particularly positive direction. The GOP is going to have another opportunity to participate in governing the country next year; whether they’ll be worthy of that opportunity is a good question.

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