A former top political aide to President Clinton, Doug Sosnik, has an article in Politico magazine with some interesting data about how the Democratic Party is moving left just as the country as a whole has less confidence in big government. He writes:
Since Obama became president, the number of Americans who want to expand the role of the federal government has decreased sharply. ...The most recent Pew Research Center poll,released on June 26, 2014, found that just 24 percent of Americans say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always or most of the time. Three in four (75 percent) say they trust government only some of the time or never...More broadly, since 2009, there has been a 10-point increase in the percentage of Americans who say that government is doing too much, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted on June 15, 2014. When Americans are given a choice between a government that does more to solve the problems and help meet the needs of people or a government that is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals, half say that government is doing too many things; only 46 percent say they want a government that does more.
The negative attitudes toward government haven't just been limited to Republicans. In the last five years that the Pew Research Center has tracked ratings of the federal government, favorability ratings among Democrats have dropped by 20 points (from 61 percent in July 2009 to 41 percent in March 2013), and the number has undoubtedly decreased even more in the last year.
He writes that it's "difficult to imagine" a viable Democratic presidential candidate who doesn't come out in favor of either banning or curtailing hydrofracking for shale gas.