Are you fed up with people trying to color you Blue or Red when it comes to your politics? I am, too. So, this week, I’m writing about a new Pew Research Center report that gives us a whole lot of new labels: Are you a Staunch Republican? A Solid Liberal? How about a Hard-Pressed Democrat? Are you among the Disaffected—or perhaps a Bystander?
This new Pew report parallels my own conclusions as a researcher. I reject the image of our nation as a great divide between Red and Blue. The data I’ve seen and analyzed just don’t support it. Now, a new poll by the Pew Research Center also indicates that the Red/Blue divide is inaccurate and misleading.
Pew researchers identify nine different categories of Americans. Where do you feel at home on this new list? I’m going to give you my own overview of the new labels, but I also encourage you to try Pew’s new interactive quiz that will tell you which group they think you’re in.
Here’s how I would describe Pew’s nine new labels …
REPUBLICAN END OF THE SPECTRUM
Staunch Republicans: These folks take hard-line conservative positions on economic and social matters. They love the Tea Party and hate Obama.
Main Street Republicans: They’re conservative, too, but don’t agree with the Staunch Republicans on several key matters. They are more likely to say that corporations make too much profit, and less likely to say that environmental laws hurt the economy.
Independents are a growing number of Americans who don’t fit the conservative or liberal labels.
Libertarians and Post-Moderns: They’re liberal on social issues, such as abortion or homosexuality, but Libertarians are more like Republicans in their favorable views of free markets and small government, while Post-Moderns are more like Democrats on these issues.
Disaffecteds: Pew says this group falls right in the middle. They’re also independent but, unlike Libertarians and Post-Moderns, are financially stressed and cynical when it comes to politics.
DEMOCRATIC END OF THE SPECTRUM
Democrats have become a mixed bag, too.
Solid Liberals: Think of them as the opposite of Staunch Republicans. These two groups are the extremes in the ideological spectrum.
New Coalition Democrats and Hard-Pressed Democrats: They include more people of color than the largely white Solid Liberals. They are more religious and more socially conservative than the Solid Liberals. The main difference between New Coalition and Hard-Pressed Democrats is the former’s “upbeat attitudes” when it comes to economic struggles.
AND THE REST
Bystanders: These are young and politically disengaged Americans. They make up about 10% of Americans—but 0% of registered voters. And, that’s not a misprint—this group currently is missing from the ranks of American voters, truly standing on the political sidelines.
Which of these nine do you resonate with?
What do you think of Pew’s basic conclusions?
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(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)