One frequent claim you hear from proponents of bipartisanship for its own sake is the idea that the party in power had better be careful not to get too partisan, lest independent voters get “turned off” and hold the ruling party accountable.
Well, today brings some new polling from Pew that sheds some light on whether this is, you know, actually true.
The poll finds that there’s been a sharp drop in the number of Independents who see the parties as working together. Only one-fourth of Indys say this, a big tumble from the 49% who said this in January.
Despite this, however, approval of Obama among independents has held steady, and approval of Congress among them has jumped substantially. A solid majority of 56% of independents approve of Obama’s performance. And 47% of independents approve of Congress’ performance, up 15 points since January.
Now let me put this in layman's terms. The less independents saw Congress as being partisan, the lower their approval rating of Congress was. Now that they see more partisanship in Congress they also have a higher approval rating and thats primarily because of their higher rating for Democrats in Congress not their rating for Republicans. And besides all that, independent's approval of President Obama was unharmed with the jump in percieved partisanship. When it comes down to it the only way you can possibly frame this is that independents want Democrats to be Democrats. When they voted for President Obama or any other Democrat they weren't just repudiating Republicans, they were also expecting a new course to be charted and new policies enacted. Hopefully now some of the Blue Dogs and Conservadems in Congress will see these numbers and realize that the only people who want to see Democrats act more like Republicans are other Republicans. The dynamic has changed and its time for the DINOs to get on board or get run over.
So much for Karl Rove and his "most polarizing" meme. These numbers show that he can take that notion and blow it out his ass.