Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Matter of Trust – Poll: Republican’s Tied on Surprising Key Issue with Democrats – Social Security

A recent Rasmussen Pollshows Republican’s leading or within points of Democrats on most key issues, including a surprising tie on Social Security, previously a Democrat strong point. Additionally, Democrats lead Republican’s on the Economy and Government Ethics by a mere 3 point margin; Republican’s lead in expected categories of National Security, Taxes, Abortion and Immigration. Democrats lead in Healthcare and Education. Social Security has been a key issue for Democrats on the campaign stump, using Social Security benefits (or the end thereof), as a talking point in mailers to constituents, much the same way as Republican mailers cite National Security (or the lack thereof) in the same manner.

The narrow margin on these key issues can be viewed in two ways – 1) Republican’s have gained in public trust in a very short period of time among independents, leaving the country more ideologically divided ideologically than in previous months. This would indicate that the 2010 general election may tip the balance of power in the Capital should the trend continue and Republican candidates pick up seats. (This scenario would match historical trends.)

Alternately, the gap might also indicate a general distrust of both parties. In this scenario, alternative parties, such as the Libertarian Party, may benefit in an increase in both membership as well as seats in both Congress and the Senate.

Of interest: the distrust of political parties was most evidenced in Madison’s treatise on the subject in the Federalist Papers #10

The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other.

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