This Gallup poll of Arkansas captures perhaps the most important thing happening in American politics. The number of so-called “conservative Democrats” has been dropping steadily. From Gallup:
There was a time when the role of racial issues and weak national parties left the American political party system, frankly, a sloppy mess. There were liberal Republican senators and actually conservative Democratic members of Congress. Steadily we are watching the holdovers from that time disappear. American political parties are becoming like political parties in the rest of the world, which coalesce around ideological positions.
It doesn’t really make sense for someone to be a conservative and a Democrat, or a liberal and a Republican. The voting public is coming around to realizing that, which is why congressional elections are starting to more closely fit the partisan patterns they should. At this moment the 2004-2012 President elections appear to be a near prefect predictor of the 2014 Senate races.