Fellow UMass alum Dan Flynn points out Gallup’s evidence that Americans are trending more conservative in 2009 than they did in 2008. The most important aspect of this revelation is the cause: apparently, independents are shifting right. And this wasn’t just self-identification: conservative positions on government involvement in business, union influence, and even gun rights became more popular.
Note that these numbers reflect people’s issue position and not necessarily their political party preference. As the Republican party is finding out in NY-23, the two are not necessarily one and the same. Even if the GOP tallies a pair of victories in New Jersey and Virginia next week, the lessons for a return to power nationally may be learned in upstate New York.