Only Eight Percent of Voters Want Divided Government
I think one of the most interesting questions in the recent NBC/WSJ poll is that it ask voters what total election outcome they wanted. Almost everyone said they wanted their preferred party to win full control of Washington, while just eight percent said they desired a divide government. From NBC:
Which of the following best describes your preference for the outcome of this year’s elections — Mitt Romney winning the presidency with a Congress controlled by Republicans, Mitt Romney winning the presidency with a Congress controlled by Democrats, Barack Obama winning reelection with a Congress controlled by Republicans, or Barack Obama winning reelection with a Congress controlled by Democrats?+
Romney/Republican-controlled Congress …………41
Romney/Democratic-controlled Congress …………3
Obama/Republican-controlled Congress …………..5
Obama/Democratic-controlled Congress …………44
Not sure ……………………………………………………..7
This is a relatively new development. Until recent their was a fairly large number of independents voters who liked the idea of a divide government, but in recent years that position has collapsed. Voters no longer associated divide government with compromise but instead see it as only producing total gridlock. Trying to end up with middle ground legislation by splitting your vote simply no longer seems like a viable choice anymore. Voters feel they must completely choose only one party or the other if they want anything to get done.
I don’t think many fully appreciated what a big paradigm shift this many end up being. This is not just a change in the preferences of independent voters, this is a dramatic new way of thinking about how our government can or can’t function. This could be only a temporarily change caused by the refusal of the Republicans House to work with President Obama but it is also possible this beginning of a new normal where our politics become much more like that of parliamentary systems.
It will be very interesting to see in the short term what impact this has on this House races. It would be that this election we will have historically few people voting for one party for the House and a different party for the presidency.