Pew Research Center Looks At Political Views Beyond Conventional Labels

I’ve often noted the problems with labels such as liberals versus conservatives, often lumping together people who do not agree on a number of issues while sometimes dividing those who do agree. My views have never fit in entirely with any group, but in recent years when it came down to liberals versus conservatives it has been a simple matter of siding with those who are not bat-shit crazy. Besides, liberalism contains a wide variety of views; in recent years including most who oppose the agenda of the theocratic, authoritarian right.  A Pew Research Center survey went beyond simple divisions of liberal versus conservative and party identification to break people down into a number of groups. Based upon this, it looks like I might have to rename the blog Post Modern Values. Of course a major characteristic of us post modern people is that we are very liberal on social issues. A few different answers on questions where I was forced to choose from two views which didn’t really capture my opinion could have also made me a Solid Liberal.  Regardless, we are on the same side on many of the major political issues. Post moderns are  the independents who overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. Unfortunately many post moderns (but not me) sat out in 2010.

The 2012 election might come down to whether Democratic-leaning independents turn out for the Democrats in 2012 as we did in 2008. On the one hand, many independents are increasingly turned off by the conservative views of Republicans on social issues. Just today, after seeing Barack Obama wage a war on terrorism, we are seeing House Republicans wage a war on women. On the other hand, another independent group, libertarians, is far more supportive of Republicans today than in 2008. As is far too often the case, libertarians tend to fall for Republican rhetoric on the economy (regardless of the realities) and are willing to compromise on matters such as social issues and actual freedom.

While the look at independents was most interesting, the survey also broke down supporters of each party by type. The views of Republicans were fairly predictable, regardless of type. For example, 90 percent of  Staunch Conservatives say that religion is an important part of their life. The Main Street Republicans  do not differ on this, with 91 percent answering the same way. Staunch Conservatives also include most of the Tea Party supporters. Knowing how conservative positions are frequently based upon beliefs which are counter to fact, it was no surprise to read that, “More Staunch Conservatives regularly watch Fox News than regularly watch CNN, MSNBC and the nightly network news broadcasts combined.”

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Liberal Ideals says:

    Pew Research Center Looks At Political Views Beyond Conventional …: A few different answers on questions where… http://bit.ly/k5h07a

  2. 2
    Barry Loberfeld says:

    “On the other hand, another independent group, libertarians, is far more supportive of Republicans today than in 2008. As is far too often the case, libertarians tend to fall for Republican rhetoric on the economy (regardless of the realities) and are willing to compromise on matters such as social issues and actual freedom.”

    According to the linked survey, “Libertarians” and “Post-Moderns” are both placed in the “Mostly Independent” category.

  3. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    They survey also looks at the voting trends of these independent groups. It shows an increasing number of libertarians supporting Republicans and post-moderns supporting Democrats.

  4. 5
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    Rhetorically, I agree with Republicans as often as I agree with Democrats, and while past performance is no guarantee of future results, it’s all I have to go on, and history clearly, and empirically shows that the GOP is much farther from their rhetoric in actual policy, and not in a good way.

    That said, if either party set their primary policy agenda initiative as removing private money from the political system, they would get my vote.

    I don’t kow what the outcome would be if genuinely liberal or conservative policies were embraced by the American people, and we will never know as long as the political system is co=opted by private money. With the system we have, we will continue to get policies that are written, packaged, and sold as in the interests of the American people, when the reality is that a great many major policies are for the benefit of the financial benefactors of the political system.

    When the guys who ostensibly support policy goals I approve of go on to pass massive giveaways to industry, I can argue it is better than what we had, but I can’t help recognize that it is far worse than we would do if that financial pressure were not brought to bear.

    I have never been a single issue voter, but on the issue of private money in the political process, I could be. If only someone serious about this issue were to ask for my vote.

  5. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Yes, there are areas where I agree with the Republicans far more if you listen to their rhetoric as opposed to looking at their policies.

    Unfortunately it will be very hard to get private money out of politics. First there is the problem of how you can legitimately prevent people or organizations from spending money to promote their views. If they can’t contribute directly they will find other ways to spend the money. Secondly, the people who would write the laws to keep the money out are generally motivated to do the opposite.

  6. 7
    S.W. Anderson says:

    I would like to suggest a yardstick for evaluating what Republicans do, regardless of what they say: Are they capable of governing in the public interest.
    It’s all too true, as Capt. Sarcastic says, that “we will continue to get policies that are written, packaged, and sold as in the interests of the American people, when the reality is that a great many major policies are for the benefit of the financial benefactors of the political system.”
    Yet, when during the administrations of Reagan and the two Bushes did we get legislation attempting, however imperfectly, to achieve fairer pay for women, make affordable medical insurance available to 35 million people priced or ruled out of the system, and rein in some of the worst abuses of the Wall Street casino, crooked bankers and the larger financial industry?
    Those were big-deal attempts to govern in the public interest. Compromised more than I would like to be sure, but they are progress.
    There’s an old saying in Congress, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  I commend that thought to independents trying to decide whether they should bother to support Democrats or stay home. And if that’s not enough, there is a important consideration that could be even more important: the Supreme Court.

  7. 8
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    “Politics is the art of the possible” and “Don’t let the good be the enemy of the perfect” are two valid, pragmatic truisms. But by the same token, as much as I recognize that what I propose is difficult, I do not believe it is impossible, and while removing private money from political campaigns might not be perfect, I believe it would be good.

    My opinion is that pols were fully funded by public money, and public funds matched private funds dollar for dollar, the investment of those private dollars would lose it’s allure. And if a private party wanted to spend money on political messaging, if it remotely supported one candidate over another, it would cause the public funding match.

    It could work, but the first step would be the hardest, since all the private money would be brought to bear against such an initiative.

    It would truly have to be a populist grass roots effort.

    One thought I had is to reach out to the conscientious non-voters as well as the great many of “lesser of two evils” voters, and simply boycott the polls, until or unless a candidate will make a pledge to sponsor and support legislation to support full, equal, and matching public funding of elections.

    When people realize that a few billion dollars of private spending is directing a few trillion dollars of taxpayer spending, they will eventually come to see the value of investing in the integrity of our system

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