Rasmussen: Republican identity jumps to two year high

According to pollster Rasmussen, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Republican has risen to a two year high:

The number of Americans who consider themselves to be Republicans jumped nearly two percentage points in December to 34.2%. That’s the largest market share for the Republican brand in nearly two years, since January 2006 (see history from January 2004 to present).

At the same time, the number of Democrats fell to 36.3%. That’s down a point compared to a month ago. During 2007, the number of Democrats has ranged from a low of 35.9% in July to a high of 37.8% in February.
The reason for the jump in self identified Republicans? Greater confidence in the party to fight the war on terror would seem to be the key. While it has not affected President Bush's approval ratings, recent international events - including the improving situation in Iraq - reminds voters why they prefer the Republican party over the Democrats when it comes to national security.

The percentage of people who identify as Republicans has risen sharply since the 2006 mid term debacle:

A year ago at this time, the Democrats had a 6.9 percentage point advantage as they prepared to formally take control of Congress following their victories in Election 2006. It remains to be seen whether the Republican gains can last, but it is startling to note that the Democrats have lost two-thirds of the partisan advantage since taking control of Congress.
Perhaps the American people are suffering from "buyer's remorse" when it comes to congressional Democrats who have failed to pass any significant legislation since taking over.

At the very least this news - if it holds - will mean that Democrats would probably only realize modest gains at the ballot box next November - if they win anything at all. A far cry from the heady days last summer when it appeared the Democrats would almost run the table in the Senate and continue building a bigger majority in the House.
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