The Pew Research Center has put together a new Political Typology which divides the public into eight politically engaged groups, along with a ninth group of less engaged “Bystanders.” According to their report, the assignment of individuals to one of the eight core typology groups is based primarily on their position on nine scales of social and political valueseach of which is determined by responses to two or three survey questionsas well as their party identification.
Rod Dreher has an excellent summary of the report. Here are a few of his highlights :
+ Most Democrats are religiously and socially conservative. You read that right. Of the 37 percent of the general public Pew identifies as Democratic, 23 percent of them are religious and/or social conservatives. Yet the partys profile and policies are largely determined by the solidly liberal 14 percent a segment that is far more college educated than other Democrats.
+ More Republicans are skeptical of the power of big business and favor environmental laws than not. You read that right. There is a huge divide here yet the partys profile and policies are largely determined by the staunchly conservative minority.
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+ Homosexuality but not gay marriage is accepted by a strong majority. Fifty-eight percent overall believe it should be accepted, versus 33 percent who say it should be discouraged. Libertarians are the only conservative-oriented bloc that agrees with the majority. Socially conservative Dems are more or less evenly divided on the issue, and Independents clearly favor more gay acceptance. But the only groups in which majorities support gay marriage are Post-Moderns and Staunch Liberals but they do so in such numbers that the overall picture is evenly divided.
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+ On both sides, whites are the most committed ideologues. Staunch Liberals are 77 percent white, while Staunch Conservatives are 92 percent white. Libertarians, by the way, are also overwhelmingly white 85 percent.