The Republicans' Amazing and Incredible Shrinking Party

Chris Cillizza argued yesterday that the most important number in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll wasn't 69% (the president's approval rating), 50% (the number of Americans who believe the country is going in the right direction), but rather, was 21%.


That's the percent of people in the Post/ABC survey who identified themselves as Republicans, down from 25 percent in a late March poll and at the lowest ebb in this poll since the fall of 1983(!).

In that same poll, 35 percent self-identified as Democrats and 38 percent called them Independents.

These numbers come on the heels of Steve Schmidt, former campaign manager for Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, declaring the Republican party a "shrinking entity" last week -- citing the decline of GOP numbers in the west, northeast and mountain west as evidence.

It's not just this poll. The New York Times published a new poll today and found that only 20% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, the lowest number in at least 17 years. (It may be longer, but the poll internals only go back to 1992.)

There was some talk in Republican circles recently that the GOP is finally "back in the saddle." If that's true, the horse is looking pretty small.

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