Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The Center Beckons Here's an underreported bit of news from the Washington Post's recent analysis of its own national poll.

The Post-ABC poll suggests that Dean's recent surge has come disproportionately from Democrats who do not closely identify with their party. In mid-October, Dean claimed the support of one in six Democratic-leaning independents and an equal proportion of party rank and file. Today, he gets significantly more support from independent Democrats (35 percent) than he does from party faithful (26 percent).

The poll, as published, isn't as helpful as it might be--it doesn't explain with any precision, for example, what it means to be an "independent Democrat" or a member of the "party faithful."

Still, whatever you make of these terms, the poll's results do seem to demonstrate rather clearly that Dean's base of support is made up of more than rabid left-wingers and liberal misfits.

Memo to the folks at Dean HQ: Start thinking about some tangible, meaningful ways to reach out to independents and liberal Republicans. (How about a proposals for a substantial increase in the number of US troop deployments to Afghanistan, for starters?)

And do the reaching out sooner rather than later. Once the nomination is sealed up, it'll look an awful lot like pandering.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.