Politics

Is the "Mushy Middle" Packed to the Seams with Libertarians?

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Forget "angry white guys," "soccer moms," "NASCAR dads," etc. and get ready for a new pollster-tested and AP-approved fake voting bloc perfectly geared to a chubbazoid American electorate: "The Mushy Middle."

That's the phrase the AP is using to describe the roughly 15 percent of possible voters who represent

a complex chunk of people likely to decide the presidential election but difficult to reach and hard to please.

"Yes, we can!" isn't floating their boat. Nothing much is, from either candidate.

They aren't uniformly conservative or liberal, and they don't fit strict Republican or Democratic orthodoxy. They aren't typically engaged in politics, and they don't much care about the campaign. And like so many others, they are extraordinarily pessimistic.

Wait, there's more:

Who exactly are these power-wielding voters?

They look much like the general population. They reflect the same frustration with the status quo. A significant majority has a low opinion of Bush and Congress. They have more favorable impressions of Democrats than Republicans. Many are feeling the economic pinch. They want troops to return from Iraq as soon as possible.

Like the broad electorate, they rank gas prices and the economy as their top concerns, followed by health care, Social Security, taxes and education. Terrorism and Iraq are lower….

They overwhelmingly favor abortion rights and legal rights for same-sex couples, typically Democratic and liberal positions. But they also overwhelmingly say cutting taxes should be a high priority, typically a Republican and conservative refrain.

These voters say they are far less interested in cultural issues and far more interested in bread-and-butter subjects like health care and Social Security.

"All are a few points from the ideological center of the country, and they tend to be fiscally conservative and socially tolerant," said Greg Strimple, a Republican pollster in New York.

More here.

Hmm, fiscally conservative and socially tolerant? Could that really be where the votes are?