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.”