The changes in political climate over the last year have been well-documented on this blog and elsewhere. From the scorching heat of town hall meetings last summer that wilted the blooms of legislative momentum, to the earlier-than-expected reddening of the electoral leaves in Virginia and New Jersey in the fall, and the blistering winds of change that blew through Massachusetts in mid-January, voters signaled their intent:  they want to cap-and-trade in their Democrat leaders after seeing the growth of the federal government, via national health care, take a dramatic upward turn like a big Canadian-style hockey stick.

On our most recent survey conducted in partnership with Newt Gingrich and the Center for Health Transformation, voters shed new light on how global this change has been. We read two statements and asked voters which came closer to voters views.
The results were:

49% America needs more self-reliance and personal responsibility.
46% America needs more sense of community and people helping one another.

Overall, the difference was within the margin of error (+/- 3.3%), but compared to November 2007, when 41% of registered voters identified more with the Personal Responsibility statement and 54% chose the Community statement (a net 16 pt difference), the results represent a sea-change in an important measure of the core values of the electorate.

As the table below shows, women at home and well-educated voters are among top groups shifting away from the community statement:

% Choosing Community Statement
2007 2010 Diff
Women working at home 61% 41% -20%
Post Graduates 57% 42% -15%
Republicans 40% 28% -12%
Conservatives 44% 32% -12%
Moderates 57% 48% -9%
Women 55% 48% -7%
Independents 52% 45% -7%

The drop is evident across all regions, and especially in the Northeast:

% Choosing Community Statement
2007 2010 Diff
Northeast 64% 48% -16%
South 53% 46% -7%
West 50% 44% -6%
Midwest 50% 45% -5%

And, while 18-34 year olds remain unchanged, the drops span the generational divide for those 35 and over:

% Choosing Community Statement
2007 2010 Diff
Ages 18-34 60% 60%
Ages 35-44 53% 42% -11%
Ages 45-54 59% 47% -12%
Ages 55-64 49% 43% -6%
Seniors 65+ 51% 38% -13%

There is evidence that this is bigger than just the health care debate. Indeed, a recent CNN poll found that fifty six percent (56%) of Americans believe the ‘federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.’

But Democrats remain unimpressed by the evidence all around them and continue to move forward with big government entitlements and sweeping reforms, believing strongly that the electorate can be convinced that their alarm is baseless and they needn’t worry so much about the natural growth of big government, even as blue states and districts on the east coast are melted by the intensity of  red-hot GOP voters. Unfortunately, ignoring this problem may only make it worse. Can Democrats afford to continue to deny the political climate change all around them?

Public Opinion Strategies