Voters Turning Inward

Sabato on the prospect of a  "bin Laden" bump for Obama/Democrats in 2012?

[...] the killing of bin Laden, as ordered by a Democratic president, gives Democrats a convenient and easy-to-understand answer whenever challenged by Republicans on national security: “Republicans had seven years under George W. Bush to get bin Laden. They failed. Democrats got him in a little over two.”

That potentially powerful argument may mean a lot when the country inevitably refocuses on national security in some future election. But whether it matters much for next year’s presidential election, when the focus will likely remain on the economy, is very much an open question.

This week Pew released their Political Typology report, which concludes voters -- especially swing voters -- aren't paying as much attention.  In 2005, military strength vs. diplomacy was the question dividing voters clearly on partisan lines, with disafecteds and undecideds left to pick a side.  The new report shows that while there is still a split on that issue, it's primarily between Republican subsets not Democrats and Republicans. The majority of voters have turned "inward."  Blumenthal:

As the report explains in more detail, we see even less division among the groups on a variety of foreign policy and national security issues, including the war in Afghanistan, the use of force in Libya, the trade-offs between privacy and safety from terrorism and the role of foreign trade.

What now divides the party groups more clearly are attitudes about the efficiency and worthiness of government and the social safety network. These are also the issues now most likely to create cross-pressure on true swing voters. For example, 45 percent of the Democratic-leaning Post Moderns worry that "government is almost always wasteful and inefficient," while 61 percent of the Republican-leaning Disaffecteds agree that "the government should do more to help needy Americans, even it if means going deeper into debt."

National security never fully leaves the equation, but any role it plays in 2012 will boost Democrats, and Republicans will shy away from the issue entirely.  Swing voters will be busy pondering the value of Social Security, Medicare, and the health of the economy.

Probably why we're seeing Republicans run away from Paul Ryan's budget -- which all but 6 House Republicans voted for -- as fast as they can.




What Americans Want

Americans are known, for better of for worse, for their strong support of “capitalism” and hesitancy towards “socialism.” A recent poll by Pew Research Center confirmed this notion, although perhaps not with the intensity one would expect. When asked what their first reaction to the word “socialism” was, 59% gave a negative response and only 29% responded positively. Their reaction to the word capitalism was exactly the opposite, 52% gave a positive response, and 37% responded negatively.

How does this translate into what Americans want from the government now? Another poll by Pew Research Center asked how much a certain solution, such as cutting taxes or additional government spending, would help to improve the current job situation. Additional spending on roads, bridges, and other public works projects scored the highest with 37% of respondents agreeing that it would “help a lot.” On the flip side, 29% asserted that cutting personal income taxes would “not help at all.” This seems rather contradictory to what capitalism would dictate to do in an economic recovery.

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Bi-Weekly Opinion Roundup: Why High Nationwide Support for S.B. 1070 Isn’t as Bad as it Seems

Since the passage of S.B. 1070, Arizona’s new immigration law, polling has consistently shown that a majority of Americans—not just Arizona residents—support the law. An April 28 Gallup poll found 51% of Americans in support of the law, versus 39% opposed, and a May 9 Pew Research Center poll had support among registered Democrats only at 45% (Sources: Gallup, Pew). On the surface, this seems like bad news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, who consider the law unworkable, divisive, and a violation of American values. But in fact, more in-depth polling reveals a somewhat more encouraging picture: an overall thirst for solutions and frustration with current inaction among the American public.

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New Statistical Profiles of Immigrants and Hispanics in the U.S. Just Released

The Pew Hispanic Center just released updated statistical profiles of immigrants (38 million foreign-born residents) and Hispanics (47 million) in the U.S. The profiles include a large spectrum of information such as occupation, industry, income, poverty, or educational attainment by race and ethnicity in 2008, and how that compares to 2000.

The data is available at here.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.

PEW: More Think Health Care Bill Will Pass

Take away: Opinion on this question has changed dramatically from just a week ago. You don't have to be really sick to think this is good news, but it couldn't hoit.

By a 57%-to-38% margin, most Americans say they think a health care reform bill will pass over the next year. Democrats (71%) are the most likely to say they expect a bill to pass, and they are joined in this view by a somewhat smaller majority (56%) of independents. Republicans express mixed views: 47% say they think a bill will pass over the next year, 50% think it will not.

Opinion on this question has changed dramatically from just a week ago. The previous weekly News Interest Index -- conducted Oct. 9-12 -- found about as many saying they expected a bill to pass (45%) as saying they did not think a bill would pass (46%). In the current survey, the percentage expecting passage of a health care reform bill is up 12 points; the change has been particularly pronounced among Republicans (up 19 points) and Democrats (15 points), while there has been a smaller, nine-point increase in the proportion of independents saying they think a health care reform bill will pass over the next year. f-afghanistan-news-troop-fatalities-know ledge

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