The Center-Right Nation

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1212, January 17, 2012

Grasping the American state of mind constitutes a prerequisite for a proper assessment of US domestic politics in general and the November 2012 presidential and congressional races in particular.

Recent public opinion polls reaffirm that the US is a center-right nation, and that “Micropolitan America,” Main Street, K-Mart, Fox News, radio talk show hosts, the Wall Street Journal and the local “Gazettes” are as important – in shaping the US political scene - as are “Metropolitan America,” Wall Street, K Street, CNN and the three major networks, NPR radio and the New York Times.

Notwithstanding the uninspiring slate of Republican candidates, and the self-destruct Republican presidential primaries, recent public opinion polls highlight the uphill challenge facing President Obama’s reelection campaign and the Democratic Party’s attempt to sustain its Senate majority and regain the House majority.

According to a January 12, 2012 Gallup poll, conservatives have become the single largest group (40%) in the US, consistently outnumbering moderates (35%) since 2009 and outnumbering liberals (21%) by 2-to-1. “This marks the third straight year that conservatives have outnumbered moderates, after more than a decade in which moderates mainly tied or outnumbered conservatives.”

Gallup determined that Independents -- who make up the largest political group in the US increasingly identify themselves as conservative (35%), less as liberal (20%), while the percentage of moderate independents is trending downward (41%).  

There are, possibly, more “Blue Dog Democrats” (which are targeted by Republicans for a switchover) than liberal Democrats, since Democrats consist of 40% liberals, 38% moderates and 20% conservatives.

At the same time, the percentage of moderate Republicans fell from 31% to 23%, while conservative Republicans have grown 10% since 2002, from 62% to 72%.

While a plurality (40%) of young adults are moderate, conservative and liberal young adults are 28% each. By contrast, a plurality of all older age groups (40% or more) is conservative, about a third is moderate and no more than 21% is liberal. In other words, the upward conservative trend since 2002 has occurred primarily among adults 30 and older.

The aforementioned Gallup findings provide the background to – and are consistent with - a series of data published by the January 14, 2012 Rasmussen Report.  For example, 55% of likely voters consider the President more liberal than they are, and just 27% feel that the president has about the same ideological views as they do.  Moreover, 41% of the likely voters strongly disapprove – and 22% strongly approve - of President Obama’s performance. Overall, 46% somewhat approve of the President's performance, while 53% at least somewhat disapprove.  47% of likely U.S. voters think that the Republican candidate is most likely to beat President Obama, while 39% expect the incumbent to win reelection.

A January 9, 2012 Rasmussen Report indicates that 54% of likely voters favor a repeal of ObamaCare, while 39% at least somewhat support the health reform. Furthermore, an October, 2011 Rasmussen Report found that 70% favor individual choice over government standards for health insurance.

Congressionally, 44% of likely U.S. voters would vote for the Republican candidate in their district if the election were held today, while 38% would choose the Democrat instead.  A January 2, 2012 Rasmussen Report contends that the number of Republicans increased by a percentage point in December (35.4%), while the number of Democrats fell back two points (32.7%) to the lowest level ever recorded by the Rasmussen Report. 

The American state of mind constitutes the foundation of US domestic politics, as well as US foreign policy in general, and the unique US-Israel bond in particular. Israeli leaders would benefit, substantially, from studying the significance of the aforementioned Gallup and Rasmussen public opinion polls.