Pew Research (search) released their big poll on the American electorate Wednesday and if you liked the 2000 election – a dead heat, hanging chads, counting every ballot twelve times -- Pew says you're going to love 2004.
Pew's headline: America is evenly divided, and increasingly polarized.
That means we're still a 50/50 country, just as we were in 2000 and this time people are even more hardened in their positions than ever -- at least since 1994 when the Republicans were angry and stormed the polling places.
This time it's the Democrats -- those hate Bush, hate the war, hate the economy Democrats -- who are angry and itching to storm the polls.
Does that mean the Republicans are toast? No, they are even more motivated than ever that they were right about Bush, right about the war, right about the tax cuts.
Eighty-three percent of Republicans think preemptive strikes against enemies are the right thing to do. That means Republicans are the exact polar opposites of the French. Democrats by a thin majority -- just 52 percent – OK preemptive war.
A strong military is the best way to preserve peace? 69 percent of Republicans say yes. Only 44 percent of Democrats. And that 25 point spread is the largest in the 16 years Pew has asked that question.
The other big Pew point: the edge of the seat issue. The Pew poll finds new evidence of the nation's dead even political balance.
Republicans have caught up with Democrats in partisan affiliation, Pew says, thanks to gains made after Sept. 11, quoting the Pew people: "The divided electorate looks strikingly similar to the one deadlocked Bush and Gore in 2000."
So, here we go again.
That's My Word.
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