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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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Not since 1983, when Gallup conducted all of its polling in person, has the Republican Party been as unpopular as it is today. Only 25 percent of those surveyed identified with the GOP throughout the course of 2013.

Independents are the fastest-growing group that Americans identify with, at 42 percent. The number of people not identifying with a political party generally rises in an election year, Gallup reports. But independents have been at around 40 percent for the last three years.

Democrats, at 31 percent, are down from their 2008 peak, but still at about what they’ve averaged since 1988.

When independents are asked to identify with a party, Democrats have a 6 percent advantage, which is half of their peak in 2008, but up 1 percent since 2012.

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While President Obama’s poll numbers are still underwater on average, with more disapproving than approving, it appears that the lasting damage of the Bush/Cheney administration has been compounded by the government shutdown, which voters largely blamed on the GOP.

But this dissatisfaction may not translate at the ballot box in the 2014 midterms due to the preponderance of safe Republican seats in the House and most competitive Senate races being held in red states. Despite the party identification advantage of 6 percent according to Gallup, Democrats only hold a scant .2 percent lead in an average of generic congressional ballot polls.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and President Joe Biden during 2020 presidential debate

I look at September 2019 as a month where I missed something. We began with a trip to New York to do Seth Meyers’s and Dr. Oz’s shows. Why would we go on The Dr. Oz Show? For the same reason we had gone on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August: We could reach a vast audience that wasn’t paying attention to the standard political media. On Dr. Oz, Bernie could talk about Medicare for All and his own physical fitness. While at the time we believed Bernie was uncommonly healthy for his age, he was still 78. Questions would be raised related to his age, and we needed to begin building up the case that he was completely healthy and fit. It turned out to be a spectacular interview, ending with the two of them playing basketball on a makeshift court in the studio. Bernie appeared to be on top of the world.

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“The country from its inception is like the pendulum on a clock,” the congressman told me. “It goes back and forward. It tops out to the right and starts back to the left — it tops out to the left and starts back to the right.” And remember, he said, it “spends twice as much time in the center.”

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