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Obama's Newest Demographic Challenge: Party Affiliation

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Something very significant appears to be happening in America. There is a dramatic shift in voter affinity toward the GOP, and it may prove to be the mountain-too-high for Barack Obama's campaign.

Latest data collected in August 2012 by Rasmussen Reports indicates 37.6% of voters now consider themselves Republicans while 33.3% identify as Democrats.  The 4.3% advantage is the largest margin in favor of the GOP ever recorded since Rasmussen began monthly tracking of the data in 2002.   It also represents a significant momentum shift toward the GOP in recent months.

Most notable, however, is that exactly four years ago – when Barack Obama was pre-occupied with lowering the level of the oceans and healing the planet at the Democratic National Convention in Denver - the Democrats had a 5.7% advantage over the GOP immediately prior to the election (33.2% Republicans – 38.9% Democrats).

The August data also revealed the largest number of self-identified Republicans ever recorded by Rasmussen surpassing 37.3% in September 2004, just prior to George W. Bush's re-election victory. However, even though Bush won the election, the Democrats still enjoyed a 1.5% party affiliation advantage (37.1% Republican – 38.6% Democrat). 

Additionally, self-identified conservatives now outnumber liberals by 2-to-1 according to Gallup tracking (40% Conservative, 21% Liberal, 35% Moderate).  That, too, is problematic for Obama since 71% of voters have figured out that he is indeed a liberal – (44% say "very liberal"). 

Importantly, voters increasingly view Mitt Romney as "conservative" indicating a growing understanding and acceptance of the GOP nominee.  Fully 72% now consider Romney a true conservative as compared to just 56% earlier in 2012.

In 2008 all the stars aligned perfectly for Obama's 6-point victory over John McCain.  He was an inexperienced, untested neophyte, and successfully convinced enough voters to paint their own version of what hope-and-change was all about on the blank canvas he provided.  But, the canvas is no longer blank.  His policies have failed.  The economic numbers don't lie, and they are abysmal.

Little wonder, then, that the political environment has shifted.   

A couple slivers of data may not be enough to predict the outcome of the most crucial election of our lifetimes, but it does cause this observer to be encouraged.  And, I'll just bet it causes a whole lot of nervousness at the White House. 

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