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A Crisis of Confidence?

That's how the new DCorps memo, based on their latest poll, describes voters' views on the Republican direction for the country. The following data from the poll buttress their interpretation:

1. Just 34 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, down 7 points in the last month and at the lowest point of Bush's presidency (and all of the DCorps' polling since 1999).

2. In terms of Bush's direction for the country, only 41 percent now say they want to continue in his direction, compared to 55 percent who say they want to go in a significantly different direction--again, the lowest point on this indicator of his presidency.

3. In terms of particular issue areas, voters feel the country is going in the wrong direction, rather than right direction, on the federal budget deficit by 57 points, on health care by 39 points, on the economy by 17 points, on education by 14 points and on middle class living standards by 14 points.

4. In terms of Bush's Social Security proposal, voters are adamantly opposed. As the DCorps report notes:

....[S]upport for the president’s Social Security initiative has collapsed. The more voters hear during the president’s 60-day campaign to educate the country, the less they like it. Today, just 34 percent support the idea of Bush’s Social Security reform – down to its lowest point. Opposition is up 8 points in a month, now at 58 percent.....[A]fter a brief period of assessing...private account[s], the country is determined to put a knife in this idea. In the last month, opposition [to private accounts specifically] has jumped to 60 percent, up 9 points, and half the country is strongly opposed. This idea is as dead with the public as anything the administration has offered.

5. In terms of which party would do a better job, Democrats now hold a 22 point advantage on retirement and Social Security, a 19 point advantage on middle class living standards and a 9 point advantage on the economy.

6. On party associations, Democrats hold a 31 point advantage on being for people, rather than special interests, a 22 point advantage on being for the middle class, a 21 point advantage on cares about people, a 19 point advantage on putting the public interest first, a 12 point advantage on protecting personal liberties, a 12 point advantage on being on your side, a 9 point advantage on being in touch and a 6 point advantage on reform and change.

7. Finally, in terms of the generic Congressional ballot, Democrats lead the GOP by 5 points (47-42), including an 18 point advantage among independents (43-25) and a 26 point advantage among moderates (57-31).

Great stuff! The problem, of course, is to translate this obvious disenchantment with the GOP and these emerging Democratic advantages into real political gains for the party in 2006 and beyond. I'll turn my attention to this question shortly.