Monday, May 2, 2011

Number of Independent Voters Continues to Rise (Rasmussen Reports)

Over the past week, I've been blogging on the subject of redistricting as state legistatures work to draw new boundaries for Congressional voting districts. Although a boring issue, the composition of voting districts has profound consequences for the future of our political discourse and elections. In the post Hidden Fault Lines - Gerrymandering and the Dividing of America I provided several examples of how redistricting can be used to create safe districts for partisans and how that has created a situation of near universal dissatisfaction with our political institutions. Not to mention, has done more to divide Americans than unify them in this time of crisis.

In April, the polling organization Rasmussen Reports reported that the number of unaffiliated voters in America grew for the fourth straight month. As reported:

"Now, 34.8% of American adults consider themselves to be Republicans, 33.5% say they are Democrats, and 31.7% say they’re not affiliated with either major party. Compared to a month ago, that represents a one-percentage point gain for Republicans, a two-point decline for Democrats and a one-point increase of unaffiliated adults."

I suspect that the growing number of voters who are unaffiliated with either major party is evidence that centrists are increasingly growing dissatisfied with the two-party system and the extremes to which both parties are moving towards. The result has been an increase in greater ideology, division, ill will and at times outright separatism, which has paralyzed our political institutions into making difficult policy choices that benefit all Americans.

As mentioned in the post Redistricting Heating Up - It's more important than you think..., the functioning of our republic relies on competitive voting districts. Sarah Mann, Chairman of the Democratic Party in Douglas County, Colorado had this to say about the need for competitive districts:

"Competitive districts would also keep our elected officials honest. Without a clear majority, they would have to earn their seat each and every election. They would have to listen to all of their constituents and they could not become complacent in their public duties."
I couldn't agree more.

The new Rasmussen Reports poll seems to indicate that centrists that are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, focused on pragmatic approaches and creating a culture of achievement rather than ideological prescriptions are finding themselves increasingly unwelcome in either party. However, Americans do have common interests that are not "collectivist" (i.e., socialist or communist) in nature - a strong national defense, an effective education system, a safe and modern infrastructure and the preservation of individual liberties.

If you are so inclined, find out what your state legislature is doing and make sure your voice is heard on creating competitive districts!


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