GREAT NEWS, BUT...
I would be a lot happier about the results of the new Pew poll ...
...if various polls of the 2008 presidential election weren't showing McCain, Giuliani, and even Fred Thompson beating the major Democratic contenders.
Er, does the public know these people are Republicans? How often are Democrats reminding the public of this fact?
The answer should be "At every possible opportunity." I've said this before and I'll say it again: No Democrat, when confronted with a microphone, should ever utter the name of a GOP candidate for president without attaching the word "Republican" to the name -- preferably more than once. (E.g., "The GOP agenda of the Republican John McCain....") It should be our side's version of "Barack Hussein Obama."
Yeah, the Pew poll seems to be all silver lining and no cloud, but I worry that the GOP/"liberal media" axis will twist its results (and any similar poll results in the future) in favor of whoever wins the GOP nomination. How? The poll says voters are noticeably (but not overwhelmingly) more secular, more gay-tolerant, and less old-fashioned about marriage. The press could spin that not as an increase of liberalism, but as a "new centrism" -- and then say GOP nominee Giuliani (or McCain or Romney or Thompson) represents precisely the country's new direction, while Hillary Clinton (or Obama or Edwards) represents "the left."
You want to bet that won't happen?
We need to hang the current popular-as-toxic-waste GOP around the neck of the next GOP nominee, before that nominee can be branded as a "fresh start" for the party -- as the "centrist" "everyone" really wants.