Skip to comments.Utilizing The Pew Research Center Political Typology Report [Series]
Posted on 07/07/2014 1:41:25 AM PDT by dignitasnews
In its recently released report titled Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology, the Pew Research Center has provided conservatives an excellent opportunity to utilize their findings to specifically target our message and utilize resources wisely to capture disaffected Democratic Party voters. The report is one of the most comprehensive analysis of the trends and attitudes which drive the voting decisions of various subsets of the American public. In what will be the first of a running series, Dignitas News Service will provide an overview of the report as well as detailed explanation of the classifications of voter which Pew utilized, to facilitate better understanding of who these Americans are, and how we as conservatives can successfully address their concerns. The full 187-page pdf file may be downloaded from the Pew Research Center site.
It should be noted at this juncture that any polling of public attitudes is both a snapshot in time and a general look at the attitudes of our citizens. Each and every voter is an individual and there is no simple "algorithm" that can be put in place which will cause an immediate conversion to bedrock conservatism or sway their voting patterns. Furthermore, as conservatives we should look at this report and its findings as useful data and not allow our behaviors and passions to be ruled by them. This of course has the downfall of many an electoral candidate, who have allowed pollsters and consultants to rule their direction at the expense of principles.
That said, the information gathered and published by the Pew Research Center can be an incredibly useful took for our movement as look at strategies to capture the undecided or disenchanted Democratic voter. While I believe it be a mistake to simply attempt to woo these voters for the purpose of winning a single election with clever campaign ads designed to appeal to their primary concerns, there can be great value in assessing their passions and attitudes, to shape a long-term strategy designed to highlight common cause and common values. In utilizing the former, consultants and campaign managers (as a result of their immediate mandate of course) may be successful in gaining votes for their candidate but are either unable to bring these Americans into the "fold" long-term, or worse create further rifts within the Republican Party. These "newly captured" Republicans often come to find that it was the candidate themselves which drove their conversion rather than ideological harmony with their new party.
By embarking on a long-term and comprehensive "courting" of various subsets of Americans, we can begin a process which exposes the stark differences between the two parties and better prepare the "convert" for an enduring political relationship more solid than one akin to as short-term liaison based on expediency which will likely dissolve at the first signs of disagreement. While it is proper for campaign teams to focus on "low hanging fruit" it is the role of the conservative activist to win over the individual to the cause not simply for one or two election cycles, but for lifelong devotion to the movement. One cannot be an effective champion against the forces of Progressive-liberalism unless they are first made aware of the dangers posed by this menace, and then convinced that conservatism provides a viable alternative to the needs and concerns of the nation.
An overview of the groups Pew Research used for this study.
With that in mind we begin to explore the work done by the Pew Research Center and the particulars behind the Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology report. Pew conducted a survey of more than 10,000 Americans, utilizing the Web and social media, telephone and mail. They utilized three separate survey administrations targeted the same groups of randomly selected respondents. As fate would have it, I myself participated in the survey at base levels. Certain subsets were polled solely by telephone, while various blocks were given follow-up surveys on the Web and/or via mail. The same poll was later put out on a massive scale through social media which many of you have seen or participated in. For those interested, you can take personally take the poll by following this link.
The Pew Research has conducted similar studies in the past although as times change, so did attitudes and political placement. They've somewhat altered their grouping designations from the last such study (conducted in 2011) and the current typology breaks Americans down into eight distinct groups. Of these, three are strongly ideological and as such less likely to convert from one side to the other. They represent 36 percent of the American electorate and the positive news, for those in our movement, is that the two of these groups are on the conservative side of the aisle, representing 22 percent of the electorate. The two groups on the right are classified as "Steadfast Conservatives" (12 percent of the American public) and "Business Conservatives" (10 percent), while the lone steadfast group of leftist consist of the group Pew labeled "Solid Liberals" (15 percent) who often refer to themselves as "Progressives." Although Progressives is not only a term they often float, I personally find it useful in the political discourse to classify them as such, as to properly differentiate from the rest of the Democratic Party confederacy and there is little doubt they are the ideological drivers of left-wing politics. We had previously covered this subject in an article titled Liberal Voters Willful Blindness to Democratic Party Evil. That said, as Pew chose not to use this terminology in their study, for purposed of this series we will likewise refer to them as "Solid Liberals."
In these three groups we see the catalysts of not only current political trends but the forces that will shape the America which our children inherit. It is ironic that there are two representations of right-wing politics, given the current friction within Republican circles, manifested in the Establishment/RINO and Conservative/Tea Party wings of the GOP. As we include the Solid Liberal group in this discussion, the three make up 43 percent of registered voters and 57 percent of those who are actively engaged politically, while making up 36 percent of the overall population. Together we fight for the heart, minds and souls of the remaining 64 percent of our countrymen.
The next block consists of four groups that are less engaged politically and less partisan than our first group. They do not have much in common with each other, aside from being less partisan and predictable than the first grouping of three. Within this block, however, lay the key to the American future I spoke of. In the present, the Solid Liberals have been more successful than conservatives in attracting these groups and harvesting votes for the Democratic Party. Three of the four subsets lean Democratic in their voting patterns, although each present opportunities for conservatives to connect with and not only improve the electoral chances of the Republican Party in the immediate, but help to shape a future GOP which adheres to US Constitution and the vision laid out by the framers. They will also be the primary focus of this series of articles.
Voting patterns for the various subsets of voters in Pew's study.
The lone group within this block which leans Republican are designated as "Young Outsiders." While they tend to vote Republican more often than not (when they do vote) they tend to be cynical and dislike both parties and the general course of American politics. While they are shown by he Pew study to be firmly in the GOP camp, they trend more "liberal" in issues such as the environment, abortion and gay marriage. Their conservatism is based on their strong belief in limited government and recognition of the dangers of social engineering. This group would include the "South Park Conservatives," which we detailed in a piece on the 10th anniversary of Trey Parker and Matt Stones "Team America." They make up 14 percent of the overall population and 15 percent of the electorate.
A key "swing group" exposed by the Pew Research Center study are classified as the "Hard Pressed Skeptics." This majority of this group voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, but have also turned on him and disapprove of his job performance. They have been beaten down by the economic malaise of the Obama years although generally carry a favorable view of the ability of government to better lives of the poor. Again, the purpose of the overall analysis of this study is to understand groups such as this, and how to craft our message at educating them as to conservative alternatives. This group is equally represented in percentage of overall population and registered voters at 13 percent. They are slightly less engaged politically than the aforementioned Young Outsiders group, 11 to 9 percent.
The "Next Generation Left" grouping is a bit of an enigma. While they are very liberal on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, this group of mostly young, upwardly mobile and relatively affluent also present opportunities for conservatives. While we may better know this group as "latte liberals," they have serious reservations about government spending and the cost to the taxpayer for programs such as welfare. And while they may caucus (and drink coffee with) with them, they have apparently not bought into the racial rhetoric of Super Liberals and by large margins reject the notion that America is inherently racist and that black economic progress is impeded as a consequence. That said, they tend to vote for the Democratic Party in the present and do vote consistently. They make up 12 percent of the overall population and 13 percent of registered voters. Their political engagement is also fairly consistent with their numbers.
The final group of this block, referred to as the "Faith and Family Left" is the group that, while less ideologically in connection with, is very loyal to the Democratic Party and one in which presents conservative prime opportunities to speak to. It is a group which Democrats can ill afford to lose and as such spend a great deal of energy keeping in the fold. I stress this because these are "our people." They are more religious, in many cases more than the average "conservative" (noting the differences between Steadfast and Business Conservatives) and are very uncomfortable with the pace at which our nation is changing, culturally. On issues of gay marriage and abortion they align more with the Republican Party, but have (politically so) dismissed this in lieu of appeals from the left on the ability of government, specifically federal, to address their needs and those of their extended families. One you may have already guessed, they are more diverse, not just consisting of large numbers of black and Latino Americans, but ethnic whites and Asians as well. While each of the groups present opportunities for conservatives, a full frontal assault on the failures of liberal-progressive policies combined with re-engagement on social issues may provide keys to a reaffirmation of common cause between us. Their numbers alone deserve attention, as they make up 15 percent of the population, 16 percent of registered voters and even making a dent in this grouping would damage the left for decades to come.
The final group in the Pew cluster are referred to as the "Bystanders" and for good reason. This group, which makes up 10 percent of the population, is for the most part apolitical, is not engaged in the process whatsoever, both in their voting habits and attention paid to political matters. We wont spend much time covering them, at some point some within this group may become more engaged and they will fit in at some level with the aforementioned groups.
A snapshot of the differences within the conservative coalition.
Because the focus of this series will be to expose holes in the Democratic Party "Maginot Line" of voters, we will also not devote too much time to the rifts within the conservative coalition. For those of us engaged in the movement, we know all too well the issues and attitudes which divide us, and no need to open up that can of worms in this particular analysis. That said, they worth noting at some level and as such will be touched upon in further articles of the series. The image shown provides a fairly good snapshot of these differences and while it is left for us to work these out amongst ourselves, in the overall goal of strengthening our coalition and ultimately the nation, both groups can play their part in educating the masses on various points. For those noting this rift with a note of skepticism, I would just like to add that whatever differences we may have in the present, differences that one day must be settled, this will more easily be resolved (and in a more favorable manner) if we can reduce the pressures some in our coalition feel which may lead them to compromise principles for the sake of political expediency. A more conservative country and electorate will logically produce a more conservative political apparatus.
As previously noted, there is no "magic bullet" or algorithm which will produce the desired results of conservatives. In order to fully reclaim the republic and undo 50 years of Progressive-liberalism erosion of our freedoms and national spirit of self-determination, we have much work before us. That said, ours is a winnable fight, otherwise we would not be engaged. And as is noted in Pew Research Center's report on political typology, we have some very important advantages as we wage this battle, we need only utilize them properly and our victory is a fait accompli. Over the next few weeks we will examine this study in detail in the hopes of sparking thought and discussion in preparation for that glorious day.
By Paul M Winters Editor in Chief, Dignitas News Service