Video: Glenn Beck on the rise of independents

A prelude to the next round of GOP-bashing tomorrow morning from America’s favorite squish. Portrait of two men interpreting the polling equivalent of a Rorschach inkblot: Beck, the Beltway-hating libertarian, is eager to see the GOP decline as evidence of a backlash to Bush’s spending while John Avlon, the Giuliani centrist, reads it as a reaction to social conservatism. Either way, the two-party system’s losing ground to the no-party movement, a phenomenon that naturally thrills GB. The clip’s interesting but more interesting still is the incredibly wide-ranging Pew survey from which the data’s drawn; if you can spare a few minutes, page through and eyeball some of the graphs (the “next page” link is almost hidden at the very bottom of the screen). Here’s the latest on where indies stack up versus Repubs and Dems:

They’ve actually trended right since 2007, although that “national security” question seems to be a bit stubborn. As for the GOP’s abysmal overall numbers, here’s the data that shocked me the most:

As a percentage, they’ve declined more precipitously among moderates (dropping from 24% to 16%, a loss of one-third), but in absolute numbers they’ve shed more conservatives, a surprise suggesting that Beck’s right about longstanding erosion among the base over spending. How longstanding and how much of an erosion? Dude:

Some of that’s simply disgruntlement over electoral defeats, but compare the surge among liberal Democrats as their fortunes turned to the collapse among conservative Republicans. It’s a 51-point swing. Mind-boggling.

Like I say, lots of fascinating data at the link — e.g., a perfectly predictable public flip-flop on national security vs. civil liberties since 9/11, a five-point gain in support for a path to citizenship for illegals since 2007 (support now stands at 63 percent) — but I want to post three graphics worthy of special attention. Beck and Avlon don’t touch on generational differences but maybe they should have. The kids aren’t alright:

Maybe Carville was right about the Democrats having a majority for the next 40 years. What could go wrong?