As ThinkProgress has chronicled, conservative pundits and even some traditional journalists continue to insist that America remains a center-right nation. Today in a Washington Post op-ed, Hoover Institution fellow and former informal adviser to the McCain campaign Tod Lindberg rebuts this myth:
Here’s the stark reality: It is now harder for the Republican presidential candidate to get to 50.1 percent than for the Democrat. My Hoover Institution colleague David Brady and Douglas Rivers of the research firm YouGovPolimetrix have been analyzing data from online interviews with 12,000 people in both 2004 and 2008. It shows an overall shift to the Democrats of six percentage points. As they write in the forthcoming edition of Policy Review, “The decline of Republican strength occurs by having strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans becoming independents, and independents leaning more Democratic or even becoming Democrats.” This is a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left.
Lindberg acknowledges that “the percentage of voters describing themselves as ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ has held relatively constant over many election cycles.” However, he notes that “the views behind those labels” have shifted to be more liberal.