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With all the talk about the fiscal cliff, I see there is another one looming, one which is not getting much attention. And the "fiscal cliff" has a pretty good chance of exacerbating this other cliff, as well.

I'm talking abut the body of the electorate which self-identifies as "Republican." It's already the smallest of the three choices: Democrats are 38%, Independents are 34%, Republicans are 28% and falling fast. They're down 4% in four years, while Democrats have matched that number in the opposite direction.

As for Independents, when pushed to declare "leaning" status, those leaning "toward Democrats" are up 2 points while "toward Republicans" are flat since 2000.

More fascinating, over two thirds of Republicans declare themselves as "Conservatives", and two-thirds of those want the party to turn even harder to the Right. A majority of the remaining 31% would like the party to be "more centrist", but they are clearly overruled by the 60% overall who want the party to push even farther away from the center.

Given what might happen if intransigence does, in fact, push the nation over the so-called "fiscal cliff", it seems likely that the Republican party may face a "post-Goldwater" moment, when it is reduced to a small core of radicals, ever more firmly entrenched in their beliefs and irrelevant to the majority if America.
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