For years, nay, decades now, liberals have torn many a hair out when Americans who would benefit from Democratic representation went Republican instead. These "Reagan Democrats" voted on wedge issues and from excessive fearmongering. They voted for the Bushes and perhaps even Bob Dole, but this past election things have started to change, especially in areas that have been hit hard by economic devastation brought on by the laissez-faire attitude of the GOP. This just doesn't apply to those that switched parties, Republicans who stayed put are moderating as well.
If the Republicans want to hold on to what they have left in the Rust Belt, they would do good by ditching Rush as their leader. It may be easy to see Indiana's vote for Obama as a fluke, but if the GOP remains as out of touch as they are and does not return to what they looked like thirty or forty years ago, the Rust Belt could start looking as deeply blue as the Northeast is now.
In New York, for example, a number of Republican members of Congress appear to have grown more moderate -- either that or the ACU's standards have become more extreme. For example, Rep. Peter King came in at only 50% in 2008, down from 68% the previous year and a lifetime record of 75%. Rep. John McHugh was at 40%, compared with a lifetime figure of 72%.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan are other states where a number of Republican members of Congress drew ACU scores between the 40's and the 70's. These figures are in many cases 10, 15, or even 30 points lower than their lifetime ACU records.
Most of these Republicans remain clearly conservative according to their own standards -- but the ACU figures suggest that Rust Belt conservatism may have the potential of striking a different path from Limbaugh conservatism.