…but don’t take them for granted.

That’s the meme we’re written about numerous time and now the LA Times is picking it up

Surveys by Pew have found that far fewer voters now identify with the Republican Party. Where the two parties had roughly an equal hold on the electorate in 2002, now only about 35% call themselves Republicans or independents leaning toward the GOP, compared with about 50% aligning with the Democrats.

Moreover, independent voters are shifting their outlook on government, Pew found, putting them more in line with the Democratic Party in their concern about income inequality and belief in a government safety net for the poor.

Even some of the GOP’s most ardent backers — supporters whom Bush’s campaign courted heavily in 2004 — are less enthusiastic about the party, among them Latinos and women in suburbs and exurbs.

And about the “GOP’s most artdent backers”…even the evangelicals are looking for somebody whistling a different tune…

Support among white evangelicals neared 100% after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the White House used pastors, church membership directories and other tools to mobilize evangelicals for the 2004 election. But Bush’s support among these voters dropped to 44% in a June Pew survey, sparking concern in GOP circles that an unmotivated base would cripple the party’s efforts to compensate for losses among independent voters. […]

“I’m still a Republican, but I’m very close to being an independent,” said Phil Waters. “I’m closer to the middle than I used to be because of the way the Republicans have screwed things up.”

So as more people declare themselves indies and moderates, guess where the candidates will be going with their message…

An analysis of 30 competitive races found that the Democratic Party’s voter turnout was strong, due in part to Republican troubles and unusual Democratic unity. But turnout of the hard-core GOP base was just as good. The findings suggested that Democrats could not hope to win without a majority of independent voters.

“Turnout was a neutral factor in ’06,” said Mark Gersh, director of the National Committee for an Effective Congress, which conducted the analysis for House Democratic leaders. “What gave us victories was garnering votes among moderates and independents.”

Welcome to the new moderate majority folks.

Politics Independents Leaning Dem…