It's the economy stupid? A potential reminder in the monthly political party update
Bottom Line: Just a month ago Democrats gained their biggest one month advantage in political party ID in four and a half years. What a difference a month can make. It's highly unusual to see monthly swings in excess of a few points either way in a given but then again, the economy, news cycle and politicizing of virtually every major news event isn't usual these days either. Want to win a bet with one of your friends who leans left...Ask them who currently holds the party ID advantage according to Gallup.
After a huge shift towards Democrats to start 2018, we saw another significant shift the other way over the past month. The ten point advantage for Democrats has shifted into a one point advantage for Republicans. In fact, it's the biggest one month change in party ever recorded by Gallup. Republicans now hold their first party ID advantage since May of last year. Here were the changes:
Democrats: 27% (-5%)
Independents: 42% (-2%)
Republicans: 28% (+6%)
Third Party 3% (+1)
Independents are still a majority by plurality and elections - if held today - would be decided by which way a majority of those who don't ID with a party would break but clearly what looked like an undercurrent of a wave election for Democrats isn't the lay of the land currently. So what changed that might have led to this huge swing? There are really only two things to point to. The news cycle and the economy. Specific to the economy... We'd seen GOP ID drop to its lowest levels in years through January as many media outlets and political adversaries demonized the tax cuts and their potential impact on people. Then people began to see the actual impact. Plus, the economy is just plain good. The kinda good we haven't seen in essentially a generation. If it still is about the economy stupid - that makes sense. What I can't account for but might be a factor is the news cycle itself. 91% of news coverage through traditional media that's been political in nature has opposed the President and Republicans more generally. Especially with major events increasingly being politicized - there might be a bit of push back by some in the middle.
Something that's becoming increasingly clear is that fewer people are stalwart Democrats or Republicans and that traditional media's influence on politics is likely still in decline.