I am at the Aspen Institute ‘s “Ideas Festival,” where Democratic pollster Doug Schoen has just presented a poll he has done for the occasion. He hasn’t said anything about sample size, screening methods, or party weights, but his conclusions were interesting.
Schoen identifies the “affordability crisis” as the sleeper issue in the election. The high cost of housing, gas, child care, and college, and the insecurity of health care and pensions, have left more and more people uncertain about the future of the American dream. Where 25 years ago 90 percent of the public thought that working hard and playing by the rules would lead to a middle-class life, only 49 percent think so today.
In other words, people are anxious about the ongoing transformation of the American economy. (Ross Douthat walked by at this point and whispered, “Are you thinking ’Party of Sam’s Club ? Because you should be.”)
The public wants consensus, moderate to conservative, solutions to these problems. “There is no sense whatsoever that the country should in any way move to the left,” he said. (Or to the right, he added.) The Democrats may be likely to make gains this fall, but there has been “no ideological shift” toward them.