Clifford Young, a pollster for Ipsos Public Affairs, sees a normal turn against the party in power, saying the Democrats overstated the significance of the 2008 election results. "It was basically an election for change, so it favored the party out of power," Young said. "But it didn't say anything about a major shift in values. We didn't see a huge shift in values that would favor the Democrats in the long term."Either way, the Democratic Party's push to build a durable political majority is stalling. That's evident in national polls, such as a recent Gallup survey that found an average of 49 percent of Americans calling themselves Democrats last year, the first time in four years that the party has dropped below the majority level. That was still better than the Republicans, but the Democratic edge was shrinking, not growing.Gallup elaborates on the last point:
The 2009 yearly averages do not tell the whole story of changes in party support last year, as they to some degree obscure the sharp decline in the Democrats' advantage over the course of the year. In the first quarter of 2009, coincident with the beginning of the Obama administration, Democrats enjoyed one of the largest advantages for either party since 1991, 13 percentage points (51.7% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, versus 38.7% who identified as or leaned Republican). In each subsequent quarter, the percentage of Democratic supporters declined, and by the fourth quarter, the Democratic advantage had shrunk to 5 points (47.2% to 42.2%).