Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Prosperity Republicans

The Democrats do need to offer something to these people.

The national downturn in the housing market has arrived in Loudoun County, a once-largely rural area on the western fringes of Washington that has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. In addition to the economic effect, it's stirring anxiety and discontent that have begun to change the climate in which people consider politics -- especially some Republicans.

"I used to consider myself a Republican, but now I consider myself an independent," Schroeder said.

The shift is not confined to one county in the mid-Atlantic region. Similar rumblings of discontent can be heard among GOP voters in fast-growing areas across the country that are being hit by the housing crunch, including parts of Florida and Nevada.

For Republican strategists, the change is particularly troubling because, as recently as 2004, high-growth exurban areas like Loudoun County were fertile ground for GOP organizers, who rallied conservative volunteers from churches and community groups to turn out new voters. It was primarily in such areas that Republican strategists beat Democrats at their own game -- registration and voter turnout.