Remember this whenever a New York Times/CBS poll, or for that matter a Washington Post/ABC or a WSJ/NBC survey, attempts to declare what Americans think on politics while featuring double-digit differences between Democrats and Republicans. A large-scale survey by Gallup of over 5,000 adults shows that the lead Democrats enjoyed over Republicans during the last year of the Bush administration has deflated significantly, and is at its narrowest since 2005:
In the third quarter of this year, 48% of Americans identified politically as Democrats or said they were independent but leaned to the Democratic Party. At the same time, 42% identified as Republicans or as independents who leaned Republican. That six-point spread in leaned party affiliation is the smallest Gallup has measured since 2005.
These results are based on an average of five Gallup and USA Today/Gallup polls conducted in the third quarter of 2009, encompassing interviews with more than 5,000 U.S. adults. Gallup’s Daily tracking survey — established in 2008 — has shown a similar narrowing of the party support gap in recent months. …
Since Barack Obama took office as president in January, the Democratic advantage in leaned party identification has shrunk each quarter, from 13 points in the first quarter (52% to 39%) to 9 points in the second quarter (49% to 40%) and 6 points in the most recent quarter (48% to 42%).
The narrowing is more impressive because of the sample type. Adults skew more towards the Left than do registered voters or likely voters. Considering the methodology, the lost ground looks even worse for Democrats than one might otherwise note.
Leaners actually don’t make much difference to the overall gap, but are still a critical part of the story. Even without them, the gap is only eight points, which is actually up from the spring, when it was six points. However, the gap among independent leaners has shifted dramatically. Democrats had an eight-point lead with them as recently as fall 2007. Republicans took their first lead with these voters in the entire four-year run of this survey, 15%-13%, reversing a 17%-11% lead for Democrats in the first quarter of this year.
This confirms that Americans did not want the radical agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. The backlash has already begun to build. The only way anyone could miss it would be to rely on ridiculously skewed polls that wildly oversample Democrats in order to get positive numbers for massive government takeovers like ObamaCare.