Scott Rasmussen, political analyst, author and weekly columnist for The Intelligencer, discussed the new political changes he believes will take place in the United States during his speech for the West Liberty University Economics Club at River City Restaurant Thursday.
"I believe that right now, we are on the verge of a huge fundamental change in the relationship between the United States and the citizens of this country," Rasmussen said. "We're expecting a big change in the following decade or so and we don't know exactly what it will look like."
Rasmussen used the upcoming 2012 presidential election as the primary example of how the attitudes of voters have changed toward their political leaders. He cited that the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll shows Mitt Romney attracting 47 percent over President Obama's 43 percent. However, according to Rasmussen, voters are unenthusiastic about both candidates.
He attributed Obama's role as underdog to what he called the failure to succeed in this re-election's "decisive issue" of the economy.
"For George W. Bush, the issue was the War on Terror. For Barack Obama, it's the economy. For President Obama, his job approval rating for the last two and half years has averaged about 47 percent," Rasmussen said. "That means he can count on getting something out of 47 percent of the vote if the election were held today. That's not a good place to be."
Rasmussen contended the housing market has been a significant factor in influencing the attitudes of voters toward their political leaders. He cited that three years ago, 80 percent of homeowners reported that their home was worth more than what they paid for it, but today the number has dropped 32 points to 48 percent, the lowest level ever recorded. He said these homeowners were brought up to believe that to make a good personal financial plan, one should buy a home, pay bills on time and watch the equity grow.
"A lot of people who did that feel betrayed and it's not that they feel betrayed by Barack Obama or by President Bush, it's all of the above," Rasmussen said. "All Americans, Republicans and Democrats, they want them both to lose. That's the underlying attitude and that's where frustration is building up and right where changes are coming from."
Rasmussen called the trend the "fundamental rejection of both parties." He said the majority of Americans do not feel the president or Republicans have presented a serious plan to address the economy or the deficits. He cited two out of three Americans believing their own judgment is better than their political leaders.
"Voters do the same thing every time. They didn't like Republicans one year and Democrats the next. They threw out who was in charge," he said. "Whoever wins our election is going to say 'The American people have spoken and they picked our side,' and that's absolutely not true. All they've done is said, 'You're the lesser of two evils this time around, we'll see what happens, we'll see how you do your job.'"
He said every generation sees a trend of American citizens rejecting their current government leaders.
"That's how change starts, it starts outside the Capitol in the country. This is not new. We all know that on April 19, 1775, there was a shot that was heard around the world, the start of the American Revolution, but that's not really true. Attitudes about London and Great Britain had been shifting in the colonies for decades. It was not a politician leading the charge, it was these views from around the country taking hold."
Rasmussen also discussed how voters are far more willing than their political leaders to cut government spending in a "thoughtful way and to bring about changes that are needed." He said the majority of our government spending goes to national security, Social Security and Medicare.
According to Rasmussen, when voter opinions begin to translate into political trends, the nation will see government spending decrease and become more like a "support role in society."
Rasmussen said he was optimistic about the election and future voter trends because he has "far more trust in the American people" than their political leaders. He did not think that new attitudes would lead to a new party, but that it might lead to a new faction of either the Democrat or Republican party within the next decade.