The Republican Party

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Everything falls apart, sometimes.

Public allegiance to the Republican Party has plunged since the second year of George W. Bush's presidency, as attitudes have edged away from some of the conservative values that fueled GOP political dominance for more than a decade, a major new survey has found.

The survey, by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for People and the Press, found a "dramatic shift" in political party identification since 2002, when Republicans and Democrats were at rough parity. Now, half of those surveyed identified with or leaned toward Democrats, while only 35% aligned with Republicans.

What's more, the survey found the public attitudes are drifting toward Democrats' values: Support for government aid to the disadvantaged has grown since the mid-1990s, skepticism about the use of military force has increased and support for traditional family values has edged down.

Those findings suggest that Republicans' political challenges reach beyond the unpopularity of the war in Iraq and Bush.