With George W. Bush Gone…

…apparently people are no longer embarrassed to call themselves a Republican. So sayeth JBdotC Chief Political Correspondent Byron York:

Back in January, there was a lot of talk about the enormous lead that Democrats held over Republicans in party identification. According to Gallup, 52 percent of those surveyed in January identified with or leaned toward the Democratic party, versus 35 percent who identified with or leaned toward the Republicans — a 17 percentage-point gap. The latest Gallup numbers? Democrats, 45 percent, Republicans 40 percent — a five point margin.

Gallup suggests the change “may be merely a reflection of the difficulties a party has in governing.” No doubt. But Gallup also points out that the Democratic rise of 2008-2009 had much more to do with George W. Bush than with anything the Democrats themselves were doing. “Possible optimism about a new era of governing led Democrats in 2008 to rise to their greatest position of relative strength in more than two decades,” Gallup writes. But, “a Gallup analysis found little evidence that the rise in Democratic fortunes was due to an embracing of the party’s liberal-leaning issue positions.” [emphasis added]

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