Most liberal ticket in 40 years?

Four years ago, Republicans made hay out of the fact that the Democrats had a very liberal presidential ticket:

Republicans on Capitol Hill jumped on Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s pick of a vice presidential candidate — John Edwards, the junior senator from North Carolina — and zeroed in on the candidates’ liberal ratings, among other things.House Speaker Dennis Hastert said, this is “not a balanced ticket …Kerry is the No. 1 liberal in the Senate and Edwards is No. 4.”Former Republican National Committee (search) Chairman Rich Bond said, “This is the most liberal ticket since George McGovern and Sargent Shriver.”Bush-Cheney chief strategist Matthew Dowd said the Kerry-Edwards ticket “is the most out-of-the-mainstream, liberal ticket in the history of the Democratic Party.”-snip-The non-partisan magazine National Journal in February released its yearly congressional vote ratings and identified Kerry as the No. 1 most-liberal voter in the Senate and ranked Edwards as No. 4. The magazine noted, however, that Kerry and Edwards missed many votes in 2003. The scores were based on votes on economic policy, social policy and foreign policy.

This time around, the Democrats have a presidential ticket with National Journal‘s No. 1 and No. 3 most liberal Senators, therefore making Obama-Biden even more liberal than Kerry-Edwards. The Dems, in their infinite wisdom, must have figured that 2004’s presidential pairing lost the election because it wasn’t liberal enough.

National Journal’s rankings only go back as far as 2005, but it’s not that hard to compare the degrees of liberalism exhibited by the donkey party’s presidential tickets through the years.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter ran as a moderate, but governed as a liberal. His liberal running mate headed up the 1984 ticket. The Walter Mondale-Geraldine Ferraro pairing was considered quite a liberal one at the time, mostly thanks to his 90+ ADA rating, but she had a relatively moderate 79 on the ADA scale. Piker…

Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democrat presidential nominee was unquestionably a liberal, but Lloyd Bentsen, his running mate from Texas, was considered a moderate to conservative Democrat. But that was years ago – before the expression “conservative Democrat” almost seemed to become an oxymoron.

The team of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman was a liberal one, but Gore had the reputation, at least among MSM-types as a “centrist.” But an analysis by the Media Research Center shows otherwise:

An MRC analysis in 2000 found that Gore’s American Conservative Union rating over his years in the House and Senate averaged 14.6, placing him well left of center.

Diane Cardwell’s story rounds out the Times’ claims of the Democratic Party’s “centrist ” 2000 ticket: “Mr. Lieberman, a centrist from Connecticut who made history as the first Jewish vice presidential nominee of a major party, delayed announcing that he was entering the 2004 presidential race until last January, when he was certain Mr. Gore was not running again.”

As MRC noted back when Lieberman and Gore were still on speaking terms, Lieberman is hardly a centrist:: “[Lieberman’s] earned a lifetime ‘Liberal Quotient’ of 77 from the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) for his votes since 1989….In 1999, Lieberman was assessed 95 percent from ADA while the American Conservative Union (ACU) gave him a zero for that year, making him one of the Senate’s eight most liberal Senators in 1999. His lifetime ACU rating: 19 percent.”

The Democrats don’t seem to learn very well from history. The only president they have elected to the White House in over a quarter of a century is Bill Clinton, who, thanks to his policies on issues such as NAFTA and welfare reform, was perceived as centrist. And it is how a politician is perceived that matters in elections. That’s why Al Gore was able to keep it so close in the 2000 election. Much of the Clinton image of centrism rubbed off on Gore, Bill Clinton’s vice president.

The far left cabal that rules the Democrat Party with an iron fist just doesn’t understand that most Americans perceive themselves to be conservative. This has been repeatedly reflected in the Battleground Poll over the years:

The Battleground Poll is different. It is bipartisan. A Republican polling organization, the Terrance Group, and a Democrat polling organization, Lake Research Partners, collaborate in picking the questions, selecting the sample population, conducting the surveys, and analyzing the results. The Battleground Poll website, along with the raw data, is “Republican Strategic Analysis” and “Democratic Strategic Analysis.” There are few polls that are bipartisan. No other polling organization asks the same questions year after year, none that reveal the internals of their poll results so completely, and none ask anything like Question D3 in every survey. What is Question D3 and what were the results to Question D3 in the August 20, 2008 Battleground Poll? It is this:

“When thinking about politics and government, do you consider yourself to be…

Very conservative
Somewhat conservative
Somewhat liberal
Very liberal

In August 2008, Americans answered that question this way: (1) 20% of Americans considered themselves to be very conservative; (2) 40% of Americans considered themselves to be somewhat conservative; (3) 2% of Americans considered themselves to be moderate; (4) 27% of Americans considered themselves to be somewhat liberal; (5) 9% of Americans considered themselves to be very liberal; and (6) 3% of Americans did not know or refused to answer.

Sixty percent of Americans considered themselves conservative. Does this mean that most Americans do not know what “conservative” means? No: The question specifically provides an out to people who are not sure about their ideology; it provides an out to people who want to be considered “moderate.” Americans reject those choices. They overwhelmingly define themselves as “conservative.” This is a huge political story – except that it is not “new” at all. Look at the thirteen Battleground Poll results over the last six years, and how do Americans answer that very question? Here are the percentages of Americans in those polls who call themselves “conservative” since June 2002: 59% (June 2002 poll), 59% (September 2003 poll), 61% (April 2004 poll), 59% (June 2004 poll), 60% (September 2004 poll), 61% (October 2005 poll), 59% (March 2006), 61% (October 2006), 59% (January 2007), 63% (July 2007), 58% (December 2007), 63% (May 2008), and now 60% (August 2008.)

The percentage of Americans who define themselves as “somewhat liberal” or “very liberal” has always been puny. In thirteen straight polls, this percentage has never been higher than 38% (June 2004) and it has usually been much lower. The gap between self-defined conservatives and self-defined liberals has been as high as thirty percentage points and as low as twenty-one percentage points. What does that translate into in electoral politics? If conservative presidential candidates simply got all the conservative votes – if virtually all moderate voters, uncommitted voters, and liberal voters went for the liberal candidate – then the conservative candidates would win a landslide bigger than Ronald Reagan in 1988. Have you ever wondered why liberals like Obama never call themselves liberals? Maybe their advisers have read the Battleground Poll internals.

Despite the efforts of Team Obama to hide their candidate’s extreme liberalism, the word seems to be getting around, and he is losing support among the more conservative Democrats as well as moderate and liberal Republicans:

Barack Obama has been struggling to maintain his Democratic base thus far in August, and according to weekly averages of Gallup Poll Daily tracking, the problem seems to be with conservative Democrats.

Within the Democratic Party, Obama’s losses are primarily evident among the relatively small group that describes its political views as conservative. The 63% of conservative Democrats supporting Obama over McCain in Aug. 18-24 polling is the lowest Obama has earned since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June. At the same time, there have been no similar drops in support for Obama in the preferences of liberal or moderate Democrats.

As a result of this, support for Obama among all Democratic registered voters fell from 81% in early August (Aug. 4-10) to 78% last week (Aug. 18-24). Obama’s support from Republicans over this period also dipped from 9% to 7%, while 42% to 43% of independents have consistently supported him.

The 78% of Democrats backing Obama from Aug. 18-24 ties for the lowest seen since early June. The 7% of Republicans for Obama is the lowest to date (since the start of Gallup Poll Daily tracking of the Obama-McCain race in March).

Among Republicans, Obama has mainly seen his support eroding among moderate and liberal Republicans, from 19% to 13% during August. Already at 4% to 6% in July and early August, Obama’s support from conservative Republicans could not go much lower.

All that flipping on the issues has not convinced voters that Obama is anything but a liberal. The lipstick just hasn’t stuck to the pig. And, as in every presidential election since 1968, American voters are rejecting liberalism. Will the Kos krowd that is in control the Democrat Party ever get the message? They seem to have that one permanently blocked from their Blackberries.

– JP