Either indies have suddenly developed a taste for Nazi mobs of political terrorists or the Democrats’ message war on ObamaCare opponents is a rather epic fail.

Given the left’s monopoly on wisdom and virtue, I must reluctantly conclude it’s the former. When did independents start hating America?

In a survey of 1,000 adults taken Tuesday, 34% say the sometimes heated protests at sessions held by members of Congress have made them more sympathetic to the protesters’ views; 21% say they are less sympathetic.

Independents by 2-1, 35%-16%, say they are more sympathetic to the protesters now.

The findings are bad news for President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders, who have scrambled to respond to town halls marked by aggressive questions and noisy demonstrations by those opposed to plans to overhaul the health care system…

There’s some tolerance for noisy disputes at town hall meetings. By 51%-41%, those surveyed say individuals making “angry attacks” on a health care bill reflected “democracy in action” rather than “abuse of democracy.” However, by 59%-33% they say “shouting down supporters” of a health care bill was an abuse of democracy.

Karl wrote a post about this earlier, before the poll came out, flagging Dick Armey’s assessment that the protesters themselves might be better understood as Perot-style populists than traditional Republican conservatives. If that’s true, then it’s no surprise that they’re appealing to indies: They’re sort of indie themselves. Or, more likely, maybe it has less to do with the protesters than who it is they’re protesting. The more people hear about Congress rushing the bill through without having read it, the more satisfaction they’ll naturally take from Joe Public standing up to get in Arlen Specter’s face. Speaking of which, here’s a video sent by one of our readers from a town hall last month purporting to show James Clyburn asleep — literally — at the wheel. I honestly can’t tell. He sure seems tired and disinterested, but is there evidence of actual slumber while his constituents are questioning him? I report, you decide.