Nate Silver on self identification:
Republican party identification, which had already been at fairly low levels, in fact appears to have slumped further since Inauguration Day, although the gains are being had not among Democrats but by voters who identify themselves as independent.What makes this so delicious to a guy like me is that Karl Rove famously won the presidency for George W. Bush by polarizing the voters whenever possible. His reasoning was that if the pool is closely divided along party lines, all you have to do is energize the normally disenfranchised base to come out and vote, and there's your majority. This turns out to be a much smarter short term strategy than long term.
Several polls conducted within the last week have attracted attention for their notably low levels of self-reported Republican voters. In particular, ABC/WaPo reported the number of Republicans as 21 percent, CBS/NYT at 20 percent, NBC/WSJ also at 20 percent (not counting "leaners"), and Pew at 22 percent.
Here's the fallout. After years of partisan sniping from both sides, people have come to distrust the bases and are fleeing back to the middle, which is sensibly the force which should be running the country anyway. It's how the founding fathers wanted it. And after 15 years of crazy ranting it's going to be a long time before ideologues are handed the reins of power again. Probably twice as long before right-wing ideologues get them. President Palin still looms on the horizon, but she's going to be as old as Helen Thomas if it happens.