A recent Pew poll (pdf) describes the change in the support for the safety net in the U.S.:
What surprises me is the massive drop in support among Republicans since 2007. By polling standards, that’s a huge shift. I don’t think it can be explained by an ‘outmigration’ of sympathetic Republicans to either the Democratic Party or independent status: if that were the case, those groups’ numbers should have shifted upwards more (and according to the poll, since 2007, the percentage of Republicans hasn’t changed).
One of the many things that bugs me about the Democratic professional class is their devotion to polls, in the sense that they believe those numbers are inviolate and can’t be shifted. They are treated as the political equivalent of Planck’s constant.
But in this case, something happened to shift these numbers downward. I’m not sure what that would be (I’m not being snarky–I have no idea). But these data (and, yes, Kevin, it’s fucking plural) illustrate that attitudes can change pretty dramatically.