Another set of numbers, this set from a poll by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rossner, points to a paradigm shift in American politics in 2008. Cue more Republican frustration, as they realize their concoction of race and divisive social issues just doesn’t work anymore.

Not surprising, when forced to choose voters says that returning the economy to sound footing and creating quality jobs is Obama’s top goal. But more surprising, given the dominance of the stimulus story, is that voters see through this to other goals – which are seen as somewhat more important to the Obama project – and thus give the presidency definition beyond the recovery. For the public, at the heart of the Obama project is a turn away from greed and the super-rich and toward the middle class and its values, with greater opportunity, security and rising prosperity.

This will come up in my other posts this weekend, but the last sentence of the quote starts to dig at something very important. With people buying into a basic Democratic Party principle of shared wealth and emphasis on a growing middle class, the GOP is holding the hot potato here, caught in a bad place politically. Sure, cable news blowhards and political pundits might have you believe that Obama’s mojo is down the drain thanks to the indecisiveness of Sen. Judd Gregg, but the people — the only ones who count in the end — say otherwise. From this past Monday:

Sixty-seven percent of the American people approve of how President Obama’s handling his efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, as opposed to 48% for Democrats in Congress and 31% for congressional Republicans.

Congressional Republicans actually have a staggeringly high 58% DISapproval rating for how they’re handling the stimulus debate, compared to 42% for Hill Democrats and only 25% for President Obama.

Gallup says that 51% of those polled believe that passing the economic stimulus plan is “critically important” for the economy, with 29% saying it’s important. Only 16% say it is “not that important.”

Millennials are being added to this rapidly transforming electorate, making it even more progressive. The Millennials, not surprisingly, share the president’s economic views represented in the stimulus. Neil Howe and Reena Nadler discuss this in their new report, titled “Yes We Can: The Emergence of Millennials as a Political Generation.” (I’ll be blogging about this this weekend.)

They favor tax plans and other policies that create a strong middle class—18- to 22-year olds today are more likely than any other age group to favor government action to reduce economic inequality.

It’s hard to see how the GOP can be optimistic here. The Democratic Party is increasingly becoming the party that represents the average American’s view on the economy. Millennials, having come of age in a period of stratified U.S. income, are reasonably concluding that the Republican way can’t be trusted any longer. The United States is not only understanding what its president is doing, but also they understand why he’s doing. More importantly, they agree with it.

Advertisements