Taking Sides

Jeff Alworth

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.

2004_____2006
_4%
______48%    strongly liberal
47%______39%    moderate to liberal
41%
_______6%    moderate

_3%_______4%    moderate to conserv
_5%_______2%    strong conservative

2004_____2006
_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. 

Comments

  • John Napolitano (unverified)
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    I think that people are no longer ashamed to admit that they are democrats or liberals.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    I like to read this site because there are some thought provoking discussions on social issue topics. Things have a way of consolidating toward a more common philosophy. That's probably what's happening here. I'm a Catholic who was a once-democrat affiliated, then republican, then independent, and now am a republican again. But my interest here is as an Oregonian who wants to read and sometimes contribute to the dialogue taking place about these issues that are so important to us and our world. Oregon, I think, provides an environment where this discussion can become very rich. So I hope this conversation can continue to have the purpose that it's founder proposed.

  • MCR (unverified)
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    I think we also must recognize that the meanings of words like "liberal" and "moderate" are not static. Also, I haven't seen the rest of the survey results, but I might also guess that because the discussions here often become situations where people gang up on minority opinions and continue to push DNC-ish viewpoints, you might be running off people who are tired of reading the same warmed-over stuff repeatedly.

  • hobgoblin (unverified)
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    "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."

    where's the confusion?

    hardcore liberal group = Oregon progressives

    Sure not like Blue Oregon's gotten more mainstream over the years. Seriously, it's like saying Free Republic is much more staunchly conservative than moderate.

    Shocked, SHOCKED!, I tell you.

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    I personally vote republican just to piss off the liberals in my classes that whine about everything and don’t have any useful to say in the way of changing things. Also, to annoy the people who still have Kerry bumper stickers on their cars, or ones that say "Not my president" Its just tacky and whiney to not gracefully admit defeat. So, if you want to sway people like me tell your buddies to chill on telling me how to vote, think and feel all the time, especially when I am in class just trying to learn and don’t want to hear about politics from my professors and fellow classmates. It’s been like this since elementary school where my teachers consistently told us how poor they were and that they needed more tax money etc... Many of us vote in spite against you not because we don’t agree with your views, but because you’re annoying.

  • Lil' Scrappy (unverified)
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    Wow...you must live a pathetic life. Voting one way just to piss somebody off, then seeing our country get driven into the ground by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc? Not to mention the weel being of our state. People such as Scott, Minnis, Dalto...

    It is a damn shame you are so childish in your voting. You should be greatful for the right to vote, and respectful of those who have lost or risk their lives every day to ensure you still can.

    Shamefull...

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    That's a pretty lame excuse for voting in any particular way. "Just to piss off" liberals means you don't seem to want take the political process very seriously at all.

    And what happens to your argument if what your teachers were telling you is the truth?

    If that's what you really feel, what are doing reading this blog? Hugh Hewitt and Ann Coulter should be right up your alley...

  • Lil' Scrappy (unverified)
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    Wow...you must live a pathetic life. Voting one way just to piss somebody off, then having our country get driven into the ground by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc? Not to mention the well being of our state. People such as Scott, Minnis, Dalto...

    It is a damn shame you are so childish in your voting. You should be greatful for the right to vote, and respectful of those who have lost or risk their lives every day to ensure you still can. Embrace voting, and take the time to make a thoughtful decision that is in the best interest of humanity. Trying to piss off a whiny college student is rediculous.

    Shamefull...

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    Well if they are telling me the truth so be it. But it offends and angers me for them to be doing it on my tax dollar and my tuition dollar. I pay to learn my particular field, not to hear their political beliefs daily.

    Also, when your an elementary student and your teacher skips lessons to go on rants about how little she gets paid, and how our parents are jerks for not paying her more its pretty shamefull.

    I read this god awfull blog to laugh at stupidity and see who to not vote for and what to vote for. I play opposites with you people.

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    Good God, how did this thread go so wrong?

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    It was started by a liberal Jeff. Thats where it took a turn for the worse.

  • Kevin (unverified)
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    I never cease to be amazed at people's seeming inability to resist biting the proffered hook from trolls.

    I mean seriously folks... it's not like this is the first time you've ever seen a troll. Since when has responding to them ever proven to be anything other than an exercize in futility?

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    Perhaps you could convince me to change my ways or study what caused me to not be on your side of the fence? Or, is it easier to continue on the current path while losing young people because your group can't shut up about politics in the classrooms of America?

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    From ABC, today:

    Fifty-four percent of registered voters in this ABC News/Washington Post poll prefer the Democrats in their districts, 41 percent the Republicans. This is the highest level of Democratic preference we've seen in ABC/Post surveys this close to Election Day since 1984.... The Democratic lead comes mainly from the center, which simply is not holding for the Republicans: Independents, the quintessential swing voters, favor Democrats for the House by 28 percentage points, 59-31 percent.

    The WaPo echoes these findings (it's the same poll):

    The independent voters surveyed said they plan to support Democratic candidates over Republicans by roughly 2-to-1 (59 percent to 31 percent), the largest margin in any Post-ABC News poll this year.

    Indies are breaking left, and lefties are breaking Dem. It's not just BlueOregon readers.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    [Cue car crash sound effect]

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    Thats because of the rhetoric in schools. You are brainwashing kids to be like you instead of free thinkers. If thats how you have to win so be it, but its shamefull.

  • KISS (unverified)
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    Hey Jeff, ROFLMAO.

  • Kevin (unverified)
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    Those Indie numbers sound about right to me. No real surprises there. We've been slowly trending against Bush for several years now.

    What will be interesting will be to see what Dems do with the House over the next two years and where Indies break down in 2008. My gut says that most are willing to give Dems an opportunity, but that it's just that... an opportunity, to be cherished or squandered. Time will tell which. But it's no small matter when Indies tend to break roughly along the lines of swing voters.

  • Harry (unverified)
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    I see that the True-Blue Dem picked up huge numbers (as somebody else said, "no longer embarassed"??), but I also see that Third Party has also picked up huge gains.

    Maybe it does justify that there are more folks in this space that don't just always mimic the Dem's party line on all topics, but rather come from an independent perspective. 19% Third Party means one in five, but I am sure that some think that is about the same percentage of trolls in the mix.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Hey moron with the really long name. It really isn't a surprise that you hear left leaning people in your college classroom. If it wasn't for them you'd be paying about 8X what your tuition is. If you would like to go to a school that supports your views there are plenty in the metro area. I actually attended Cascade College on Burnside. You will find plenty of young people just like you that hate taxes, liberals and anyone who thinks God shouldn't be taught in a classroom. You will find teachers who are happy to proclaim their faith in conservative Republicans and despise those nasty liberals. I believe your tuition will be around $20,000 a year nowadays. It was about $16,000 when I made my brief stay there. In fact since my tax dollars are paying for your education I would prefer that if you didn't want to hear the truth you would not use my tax dollars for your education. I still remember the day Kevin Mannix came and spoke in chapel. He swore he would take money out of the public college fund to give to "private religious" colleges.

  • would be a liberal if they werent so annoying (unverified)
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    I dont want my university to support any views idiot. I said I just wanted to learn what I am paying to learn. Not your views, Mannix's views etc... I dont care about politics in schools. I care about statistics, geometry, computer systems,etc... Geez read before you whine...

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Another troll, another donation... :)

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    Jeff-- Thanks for posting up those numbers. They confirm for me what I've suspected in the last few months: that there just may be a sea change underway in how people self-identify themselves politically.

    Given the incredibly low numbers for Congress and President Bush, it seems that after years of being a dirty word, "liberal" might stand for a positive set of values again. And "conservative," long a treasured epithet among Republicans, might carry with it some negative associations from here on out.

  • YoungOregonVoter (unverified)
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    would be liberal if they werent so annoying,

       You make some good points, but you are preaching to the unconvertible. This is not a battle you will win because they will come back and start calling you names instead of addressing your highly poignant points. So save yourself from some flames and let the normal commenters engage in their little happy, liberal groupthink where all the talk is progressive and any dissenting point of view is warded off by name calling.
    

    Remember this is BlueOregon, where progressives and liberals gather. Conservatives gather at NW Republican. If you want a blog that is bipartisan working on solutions that incorporate all political view points, then you are shit out of luck, regrettably. There is no money in working for the whole. However, there is money on the liberal side by advocating for women's rights, abortion, unions, teachers, etc. Likewise, there is money on the conservative side by advocating for business, religion, the 2nd Amendment, lower taxes, etc.

  • JB Eads (unverified)
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    The trolls are seriously stressing my checking account... but Ted, Future Pac and No on 43 will be better for it.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Further proof that BlueOregon is simply preaching to the choir. They've alienated anybody they might have converted.

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    To those donating when trolls post...

    Please also consider giving to your county democratic party. They're working hard this year to ensure that Democrats from the local level to Kulongoski are elected/re-elected this year. They need your support as well.

    County parties often times get overlooked as people donate to candidates or the state party. But remember that on the local level it's often times the county party doing the work. They're helping to run canvasses for state house/senate candidates, for the governor, for local seats, and more. They're buying the food and water for the canvassers and phone bankers.

    The county parties are working hard to grow, to bring in new people, and to prepare for the 2008 elections at the same time. But without your support, we can't do that.

    If you're in Multnomah County, you can give at http://www.multdems.org/donate. If you live in another county, visit http://www.dpo.org, scroll down, and in the left-hand column you can find an area to select your county. There you'll find the contact info (including web site, if available) for your county party.

    Without strong county parties, the Democratic Party is in trouble.

  • (Show?)

    Based on the numbers, Jenni, this is the right crowd! ;-)

    Tee, if we can't convert you, will you just go away?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Name calling yes. I revert to it when I am obviously in contact with someone that understands nothing but. Right now that's all the conservatives have. They think that being progressive is a bad thing. I haven't seen a conservative ad yet that is positive. I've seen plenty of progressive positive ads. I guess its what their side does when they know they're going to lose. It must hurt to finally be on the losing side and knowing there are going to be more of your heros going to jail.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Jeff:

    As I keep trying to teach my 2 year old...What's the magic word?

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    Please! Please! Please, go away.

    FWIW, I just made another Troll Defense Fund donation.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    This thread is hilarious ~~ funnier even than comparing Ted Kulongoski to Tom McCall which I saw somewhere yesterday.

    As far as its more serious side, it would seem that the stronger trend toward "taking sides" reflects the stronger trend broadly toward "identity politics." And more and more those "identity politics" are led by centralized organizations that collect money and advocate and lobby for policy ~~ which even this little thread and its "anti-troll donations" contributes to. I'm less sure that this sort of moneyed politics and democratic centralism is any kind of good thing.

  • YoungOregonVoter (unverified)
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    Garret,

    I don't mind if the Republicans lose nationally in 2006. To be perfectly honest, Denny Hastert and his friends need to get their incompetent, gluttonous, power-grabbing, Bush toadie asses out of office. I want Democrats to win back the House in 2006. Why? Voters will know what Democrats are all about by 2008.
    

    On the state level, forgive me, but is there an ad out by Kulongoski that has shown what he has done in the past 4 years? All I see is repetition of that attack ad on Ron Saxton about "whose side he is on." Regardless of national, if Saxton wins and the bulk of the measures passes, then I will be happy regardless of who controls the House.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    A poll on an ultra-liberal blog site does not lend ANY support to a "sea change".

    This was not a poll taken of the public in general. The Oregon Ducks were a solid 8 point favorite against WSU. They got their bottoms kicked. That's why the game is played.

    Let's see what the election brings us. A true "sea change" would be an 6-10% point win for Ted, and all of the left leaning ballot measures passing.

    Anything short of that is just the Oregon status quo.

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    A poll on an ultra-liberal blog site does not lend ANY support to a "sea change".

    Yo Dan, you should pay closer attention. No one is making any claims other than that readership of BlueOregon is changing.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Yo Kari,

    Maybe you should pay closer attention.

    See Jeff's post at 3:41:24. It specifically deals with the broad electorate.

    How about a new slogan:

    "Democrats, the cheerleader party. They don't know much about what's actually happening on the playing field, but they're sure good at making noise".

    Why don't you send another contribution (or, just credit Gov Ted's advertising account).

  • (Show?)

    Dan, here are the points, suggested by both BlueOregon readership surveys and national polling. Voters are taking sides: there are very few independent--or "moderates" in our poll--who "could go either way" left. This is not an issue of the Oregon governor's race, it's a far larger movement across the voting population. You may continue to live in the delusional world in which the GOP will permanently hold power and voters will permanently support them no matter what happens, but in the reality-based world, that dog just won't hunt anymore. The voters, they are a'changin.

  • Righty (unverified)
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    Well, I didn't realize how polarized the readership is here at BlueOregon.

    The fact that only 4% of your viewers identify themselves as Republicans and only 6% are conservative should give you cause to worry if you are looking for a big tent.

    I think the shift has more to do with lefties looking for alternative media just like the righties did a few years before.

  • Mark@PSU (unverified)
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    I find it interesting that the Blue Oregon crowd continues to say they want a big tent Democrat party, but show me the evidence?

    Republicans have nominated a Pro-Choice candidate for governor, yet can you name prominent Pro-Life Democrats in an office of power of Oregon? Many prominent Republicans supported the M30 tax increase, yet can you point to prominent anti-tax Democrats?

    It is clear that there is a positive correlation between Ultra-liberal and Strong-Dem as well as third party voters among readers of the BlueOregon. I encourage BlueOregon to thrive because we need strong discourse in Politics. Our state will do the best when strong arguments are presented on both sides of an issue, but I discourage BlueOregon from using personal attacks as their basis for disagreeing, it makes the site look childish and without the ability to argue strongly.

  • Kitty (unverified)
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    Which is why I'm voting for Mary Starrett. She is the only true pro-life candidate on the ticket.

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    Well, I didn't realize how polarized the readership is here at BlueOregon.

    The fact that only 4% of your viewers identify themselves as Republicans and only 6% are conservative should give you cause to worry if you are looking for a big tent.

    You've got that backward. At the top of the website you will find:

    BlueOregon is a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip.

    Time was, had BlueOregon existed back then, there would have been a lot of progressive--liberal, even--Oregon Republicans available to participate here. There are still a few holdouts but most of them have been chased out of the Republican Party.

    That the Democratic Party is a lot more diverse by just about any measure than the Republican Party does not require BlueOregon to be all things to all people.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Kitty,

    So Starrett supports universal health coverage? Or did you mean something else by pro-life?

  • Kitty (unverified)
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    I mean she does not support the illegal war in Iraq and believes that the lives of our soldiers is just as important as the lives of unborn babies.

    I just wish my fellow Republicans would get on board.

  • YoungOregonVoter (unverified)
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    <h2>Thank you for the link Kari. BTW, I have wondered why Kulongoski has not played to a comparison between his and Saxton's backgrounds in commercials? Just considering Kulongoski with his orphanage upbringing and military service, Democrats have a winner. Looking at the little information that is publicly available without paying for it, Ron Saxton's background does not bode well for a stereotypical "boot straps" type of Republican. Being perfectly honest, Saxton's background as a school administrator in the Portland Area alienates himself from many potential voters. Anyways, thanks for the link Kari.</h2>

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