Where are we politically? From Tallahassee to Washington D.C. there are plenty of surprises
Bottom Line: I’ve often pointed out that conventional wisdom is often anything but wise when it comes to elections. It’s not complicated to understand why. Almost everyone at every media outlet has an agenda and it often doesn’t reflect yours – or anyone who isn’t solidly left of center politically for that matter. Not that they’re especially adept at picking up on the rise of candidates like Obama nationally in 2008 or Gillum in Florida this cycle. We’re now just two months in away from the general elections and it’s a good time to reflect on flawed conventional wisdom of the previous election cycle and provide a dose of reality about our current political preferences.
Two years ago, you’ll recall that Hillary Clinton was treated as a shoe-in to win the Presidency with only two months left in the campaigns. You know what happened next, but it wasn’t just about President Trump’s perceived upset. By the time votes were counted nationally President Trump won 30 of the 50 states and Republicans held more elective offices in the US top to bottom than at any time since 1928. In other words, conventional wisdom couldn’t really have been more incorrect across the political spectrum. It wasn’t just about Trump. I’m mentioning this today because we’re seeing new information that suggests we could see some more surprises in November.
Gallup tracks party ID monthly and the recently released August results packed some surprises that I’m sure you haven’t heard about in the news. Here are a few highlights...
- More Americans ID as Republicans today than on Election Day 2016
- Fewer Americans ID as Democrats today than on Election Day 2016
- Republicans lead Democrats in overall ID for the first time since May of 2017
Surprised yet? According to Gallup, 28% of adults ID as Republicans compared to 27% for Democrats (with 43% of Americans not identifying with either political party). For comparison’s sake on Election day 2016, 27% of Americans viewed themselves as Republicans with 30% viewing themselves as Democrats. As we know independents generally broke towards Republicans in 2016 and history suggests that they’re more likely to break towards Democrats this year. But for those who do espouse a political preference there are 1% more Republicans today and 3% fewer Democrats. This might also show a strength of President Trump and a flaw of national Democrats. While hard core bases often will motivate to vote against something or someone they don’t like, most Americans are more inclined to want to vote for someone or something they like.
President Trump represents a well-defined agenda, that rhetoric aside, has produced the best economy in a generation and a safer world generally. Something that has the potential to bring more folks into the fold. Democrats have broadly embraced a “resist” platform that doesn’t really represent a bold agenda as much as an anti-Trump mantra. For that reason it’s understandable why fewer people might identify with that party today.