American Liberalism Making a Come-Back
A good amount of attention has been paid to the ever larger party affiliation gap that Democrats are enjoying this year. Unfortunately there is not nearly so much attention paid to the underlying ideological alignment of voters (not much polling on it either). It is these beliefs that largely impact how elected officials behave with respect to policy, and particularly so for the Democratic party which still has a substantial conservative wing unlike the decimated ranks of the extinct or endangered liberal Republicans.
One thing I want to see the left doing more effectively is laying the blame for the disasterous policies of the Bush Administration and Republican congresses on the ideology that crafted them, namely conservativism. John McCain is still demonizing "failed" liberal ideas from the 70s and trying to raise the spectre of a second term for Jimmy Carter (a really weak and self-dating attack). Yet Democrats do not routinely link the failures of Iraq, Katrina and the Economy on the ideology that dreams up all these great ideas like invading unrelated countries after being attacked or handing a large state's energy system over to a bunch of unaccountable sociopaths happy to screw up the grid so prices will increase.
Despite the relative lack of effort in this area outside of blogs, I'm happy to report that some people are figuring it out, and the lead conservativism has on liberalism is the smallest is has been in decades (I went back as far as 1984):
Source is the General Social Survey.
Now that's the gap, whither conservativism and liberalism in the populace? Some more charts and observations below.