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Poll: Independents' support of Democrats slipping

Support for Democrats by independents on several issues has slipped in the past year, according to a poll by a conservative research group.

Resurgent Republic's research concluded that Democrats' support among independents - a big reason for victories in 2008 - has slipped.

“Much of the change has been driven by Congressional policy choices on the economy, jobs, government spending and health care, the issues which remain of most concern to voters,” said Whit Ayres, a Resurgent Republic board member. “For example, more than a month since its passage, predictions by Democratic leaders that the health care reform bill would become popular with voters, once passed, have not proved to be accurate, despite the White House’s concerted effort to tout the bill.”

The organization bills itself on its website as a group that promotes "conservative free market principles such as lower taxes and economic growth, and support(s) strong national defense policies."

"Through a steady stream of national polls and focus groups, Resurgent Republic helps policy makers, think tanks, interest groups and others advocate for policies that are consistent with conservative principles,"

Their findings:

Political Climate

Voters are more likely - 59 to 33 percent - to say the country is on the wrong track now than they were a year ago - 50 to 40 percent.

Independents say the country is on the wrong track by a 65 to 25 percent margin, compared to a 52 to 34 percent margin a year ago.

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The economy remains the most important issue (38 percent now versus 57 percent last year), with increased mentions for health care (16 percent now versus 5 percent last year) and government spending (8 percent now versus 6 percent last year).

Fiscal Issues

Three-fifths of voters are very concerned about the current level of spending and debt. Sixty-two percent of likely voters say they are very concerned about the federal government’s current level of spending and debt, including 84 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Independents, and 38 percent of Democrats.

However, independents agree more with Democrats that the Bush Administration is more responsible for the current state of the economy than the Obama Administration. Echoing a finding from last December’s survey of voters 55 and older, these voters blame the Bush Administration more than the Obama Administration for the economy, by a 50 to 32 percent margin. This margin is 50 to 24 percent among independents and 79 to 15 percent among Democrats, with Republicans blaming the Obama Administration by a 56 to 18 percent margin.

Health Care

Voters oppose the health care reform plan that Congress passed, with opposition more intense than support. Voters overall oppose the plan by a 49 to 44 percent margin, including 41 percent strong opposition and 25 percent strong support. Independents join Republicans in opposition (53 to 38 percent and 89 to 8 percent, respectively) while Democrats support the plan (82 to 12 percent).


Forty-three percent of voters prefer a comprehensive bill with a path to citizenship, but 48 percent of voters prefer something short of that, with 24 percent preferring a bill that includes a temporary-worker program and 24 percent preferring a bill that focuses on border security first. Independents mirror the overall result (43 percent for a path to citizenship, 27 percent for a temporary-worker program and 23 percent for border security first).

Climate Change

Another area where independents align more closely with Democrats is on perceptions about climate change (the subject, not legislation). Overall 52 percent of likely voters think climate change is happening and human activity is a significant cause, 16 percent think it is happening but human activity is not a significant cause, and 26 percent believe it is not happening.

National Security

By a 50 to 45 percent margin, including a 49 to 46 percent margin among independents, voters say the President has improved the country’s standing in the eyes of the world.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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On the Web

Resurgent Republic: www.resurgentrepublic.com

Poll results: www.resurgentrepublic.com/Key_Findings.pdf

Pollster's script: www.resurgentrepublic.com/Toplines.pdf

Poll methodology

This survey of 1000 likely voters was conducted April 25-27. Respondents were selected randomly from a random-digit-dialing sample including both cell phone and landline telephone numbers. All respondents confirmed that they are registered to vote in the county in which they live. Quotas were set for state, age, and race reflecting previous turnout; and the sample was minimally weighted to reflect the Pollster.com average partisan balance for registered and likely voter samples of 36 percent Democrat and 32 percent Republican.

The margins of error for responses with an even split – 50 percent for one response and 50 percent for another response – is ±3.10 percent for the full sample, ±5.44 percent for Republicans, ±5.65 percent for Independents, and ±5.39 percent for Democrats. The margin of error is smaller when one response receives a higher level of support. For example, the margin of error is ±2.68 percent when 75 percent of respondents in the full sample choose one response and 25 percent choose another response.