For the most part, findings in the BlueOregon reader survey we reported last week mirrored the one from two years ago, except in two interesting categories--readers' self report on "liberalness" and party identification. Below are thefollowing comparisons, with areas of change bolded for emphasis.
_4%______48% strongly liberal
47%______39% moderate to liberal
_3%_______4% moderate to conserv
_5%_______2% strong conservative
_7%______38% true-blue Dem
32%______33% mostly Dem
50%_______7% could go either way
_7%_______2% mostly GOP
_2%_______2% true-blue GOP
_1%______19% third party
When I first looked at these, I sent Kari a worried email, because at first glance, it looks likeBlueOregon has become a far more hardcore liberal group with far stronger party affiliation--not so good when you're trying to encourage a big-tent discussion among all Oregon progressives. That's one interpretation, but it doesn't quite hold water. In every other dimension, BlueOregon readers look remarkably unchanged. How is it that a different population answers the same in multiple categories and then deviate markedly on only two? Probably because the two are measuring change over time, not differences between populations.
The clue, I think, is in the "third party" identification. In 2004, just before the Presidential election, only 1% of readers identified themselves this way. That jumped to a fifth of respondents in 2006--remarkable, given that those identifying themselves as "true-blue Democrats" also jumped 31%. The conclusion? In the face two more years of incompetence, corruption, and power-grabbing, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to say they "could go either way." Moderates, once able to choose from among candidates based on a menu of policy positions, have now had to take sides as well. Everyone's jumping out of the GOP-friendly camp, but some are headed to the Dems and others to third parties.
Karl Rove and Karen Minnis have made their arguments clear: "you're either with us or against us." Although BlueOregon readers are far from representative of the larger voting population, our findings mirror polls across the country: Karl and Karen, we're against you.