Now that Mayor Bloomberg has scuttled his membership in the GOP and an independent bid for the presidency looks more likely, the burning question on the minds of New Yorkers is: Can this guy really win? My polling shows his chances are promising.
It comes down to good timing, really. After more than a decade of harsh wrangling, likely voters tell me they are tired of the vicious partisanship. In a national telephone poll last month, 80% said it was "very important" that the next President be a person who can unite the country, and 82% said the same about the need for a competent manager. Bloomberg wins on both counts.
Another 58% said it was "very important" that the next President be able to cross party lines to work with political opponents, while just 42% said it was "very important" that he or she reflect the values of their own political party. As a Democrat-turned-Republican-turning-independent, Bloomberg fits the bill.
Put another way, the middle ground of the political electorate is expanding, the fringes are contracting, and Bloomberg could be sitting in the sweet spot.
A Bloomberg win would be a real outside shot, but it's not out of the question. Bush's polling is awful, and yesterday, we saw that congress' is even worse. The American people are very unhappy with politicians in general at the moment.
It used to be that I went by the 40-40-20 rule -- 40% of Americans were in each party and 20% were swing voters. That changed about 20 years ago when the tone of politics became much more hostile and the nation followed suit and we moved to maybe 47-47-6. That was reflected in the last two elections where it seemed like the campaigns were more AGAINST the opposition than FOR your own candidate.
But that sort of teeth-clenching hatred can't go on forever. The result of this predatory partisanship has been great for the special interests and the folks on the extremes, but not good at all for the average voter.
I said in an earlier commentary that Bloomberg has always been a man of ideas, and I think the voters are ready for ideas instead of more of the usual slander and mudslinging. Right now, we only have hints at what Bloomberg would offer as a candidate, but like the story says, if he hits that sweet spot and his ideas have appeal with all the voters who've become disillusioned with politics in general, this could be the upset to end all upsets.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!