What now divides the party groups more clearly are attitudes about the efficiency and worthiness of government and the social safety network. These are also the issues now most likely to create cross-pressure on true swing voters. For example, 45 percent of the Democratic-leaning Post Moderns worry that “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” while 61 percent of the Republican-leaning Disaffecteds agree that “the government should do more to help needy Americans, even it if means going deeper into debt.”
It is this evolution — the growing role of views on government and the social safety net in driving political preferences and the fading importance of military assertiveness and national security — that provides a critical context for understanding where the death of Osama bin Laden fits in our politics. Six years ago, such an event might been more critical in resolving doubts among true swing voters about the Democrats. Now those swing voters are more concerned about the economy and what they perceive as an expansion in government.