A Nation Now Less Divided

The War in Iraq has become the Grand Old Party’s “Achilles heel”.  But there’s still a year and a half left for 2008 presidential campaigns.  So maybe there’s enough time for things there to turn around.  Republican Party hopefuls all must certainly hope so.

I am heartened by the news that there is more consensus among voting-aged Americans today on what the issues are and, I suspect, on what should be done about them than at anytime in recent history.  Now, if only our representatives in the Congress would do their job’s and represent us…

The Gallop Organization recently conducted a poll to determine which party we most trust to handle today’s issues (click here to read the entire report).  At first glance, the results appear divided with nearly equal percentages (about one-third each) saying that they trust either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, and about one-quarter saying that their trust in the parties varies by issue.  However, when the swing group is pushed to name a preference, the Democrats come out with a considerable advantage — 48% to 39%.

Overwhelmingly, the number one issue is the war in Iraq.  No surprise there, right?  The biggest disparity in concerns expressed between Democrats and Republicans is still the old “Beans vs. Bullets” issue — Healthcare/Insurance vs. Homeland Security/ Defense.  But the wedge issues that have divided Americans right down the middle for so long, abortion, gun control, taxes, and Christian values (AKA, gay rights), promise to be less divisive in 2008.  

When independents’ concerns about healthcare/insurance are combined with Democrates’ concern about this, and independ- ents’ concerns about homeland security/defense are combined with that of Republicans, the beans only slightly edge out the bullets.  But, with the release of Michael Moore’s new movie, “Sicko” (click here to read about this movie), this month and Democratic candidates highlighting their healthcare/ insurance proposals, I look for this to become the second most important issue on Americans’ minds as they go to the polls.

The most important issues by party affiliation are as follows (note, the percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple answers):

Most Important Issues to Vote on in 2008
Results by Party Affiliation
April 13-15, 2007

 

Reps.

Inds.

Dems.

 

%

%

%

War issues in Iraq

31

44

51

The economy

12

16

12

Healthcare/health insurance

4

12

14

Homeland security/military defense

15

6

1

Education

6

4

7

Illegal immigration

8

4

4

Honesty/integrity/credibility of candidate

6

6

3

International/foreign affairs

5

3

4

Taxes

3

6

2

Among those who say that Iraq will be the most important issue in deciding for whom to vote in next year’s presidential election, just about half (49%) say they trust the Democrats on all issues, while just 20% trust the Republicans, and 24% have mixed views.

The war in Iraq is the dominant issue for Republicans, Democrats and independents.  But Democrats, according to the Gallop report, mention the war much more frequently.  Roughly half of Democrats polled, 51%, say that the war in Iraq will be the most important issue that they will take into account when deciding for whom to vote in next year’s presidential election.  This compares to 31% of Republicans and 44% of independents saying the same thing.

I think it is well worth noting that Democrats (14%) mention healthcare issues more often than Republicans (4%), while Republicans (15%) are more likely than Democrats (1%) to mention homeland security.  Taxes, the big issue in the 2002 election that won the White House for Bush et. al., was near the bottom of the list while, most surprising to me, concern for the environment was even farther down.

Results of the poll are based on telephone interviews with 1,007 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted on April 13-15, 2007.  For results based on the total sample of national adults, Gallop says that they are 95% confident that the maximum margin of sampling error is within 3 percentage points.

To post a comment, click on the tiny COMMENTS word below, else, click the more below for an aggregate listing of all concerns expressed by those polled.

2007
Apr 13-15

%

War issues in Iraq

42

The economy

13

Healthcare/health insurance

11

Homeland security/military defense

7

Education

5

Illegal immigration

5

Honesty/integrity/credibility of candidate

5

International/foreign affairs

4

Taxes

4

Domestic issues/taking care of homeland first

3

Terrorism

2

Environmental issues

3

Financial/money

2

Abortion

2

Budget deficit/spending

2

Social Security reform

2

Senior care/Medicare/Prescription drugs

2

Vote Democrat/not a Republican

1

Employment issues

1

World peace

1

Christian values/beliefs

1

Bush (doing a bad job)

1

Judicial issues

*

Vote Republican/not a Democrat

*

Bush (doing a good job)

 

Other

9

None

3

No opinion

6

* = Less than 0.5%
Note: Percentages add to more than 100% due to multiple responses.

To post a comment, click on the tiny COMMENTS word below.

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Published in: on June 17, 2007 at 2:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am still waiting for a real “independent” candidate to come forth to address the most pressing issues. It is funny how education rank so low. Have we all dumbed down? Over the past six or seven years, I have heard nothing about our Education Dept. at the national level.


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