Back in 1987, Pew Research centre undertook its first major “typology” survey of the American electorate. The idea was to dig a little deeper into what people actually think about politics and political values. The latest edition (the fifth in the series) of the Pew typology poll has now been released. It’s worth reading.
Here are a few highlights:
A growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the centre of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy.
For political leaders in both parties, the challenge is not only one of appeasing ideological and moderate “wings” within their coalitions, but rather holding together remarkably disparate groups, many of whom have strong disagreements with core principles that have defined each party’s political character in recent years…..
The new groupings underscore the substantial political changes that have occurred since the spring of 2005, when the previous typology was released. Today, there are two core Republican groups, compared with three in 2005, to some extent reflecting a decline in GOP party affiliation. However, Democrats have not made gains in party identification. Rather, there has been a sharp rise in the percentage of independents – from 30% in 2005 to 37% currently. Today, there are three disparate groups of independents, compared with two in 2005….
The GOP still enjoys an intensity advantage, which proved to be a crucial factor in the Republicans’ victories in the 2010 midterm elections. For example, the GOP’s core groups – Staunch Conservatives and Main Street Republicans – express strongly negative opinions about last year’s health care legislation, while reactions among the Democratic groups are more mixed. Even Solid Liberals offer only tepid support for the bill – 43% say it will have a mostly positive impact on the nation’s health care, while somewhat more (51%) say it will have a mixed effect.
You can read the whole thing by clicking here.