A GROWING GAP…. Gallup has published some interesting data over the last few days, including Barack Obama’s 68% approval rating during his first few days in office (only 12% disapprove). While some polling numbers, including CNN’s, show Obama with even higher support, it’s not a bad way to start a presidency. The last president to score this high, this early, was JFK 48 years ago.

But the numbers I found even more interesting were released Friday, measuring party identification. Based on all 2008 polling, 36% of Americans describe themselves as Democrats, while 28% identify as Republicans. The eight-point gap is “the largest for the Democratic Party since Gallup began regularly conducting its polls by telephone in 1988.”

When the poll includes those who “lean” toward one party or the other, the gap is even larger: 52% back Democrats, 40% back Republicans. This is not only the third consecutive year in which Democrats held a majority, but it’s also the “best showing for the Democrats — in terms of both the percentage of Democratic supporters and their advantage over Republicans — since Gallup began regularly tracking this measure of party support in 1991.”


Obviously, the only appropriate conclusion one should draw from this is that the United States is a center-right nation, and Democrats have to govern in a more conservative fashion if they expect to stay in office.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.