Bad Signs for the GOP

As is so often the case with big Pew Research Center studies, their latest annual survey of political values and core attitudes (which they've been doing for 20 years) has way too many interesting tidbits for me to discuss them all. Here are a few.

--Anti-government sentiment has declined steadily since it peaked in 1994/1995, which of course is when the anti-government conservatives gained power in the federal government. Seems that people haven't liked it as much in practice as in concept.

--Self-identification as "Democrat" remains incredibly steady, right at 33% of the population at almost all times (dipping only to 30% in '95 and 31% immediately post-9/11). Self-identification as "Republican" fluctuates more, generally between 27 and 31 percent, but has plummeted since 2004 (never mind the GOP's inflated 2002 zenith.) Independents "leaning" toward Dem (I/D, below) or Rep (I/R below) has generally stayed pretty close over time, but has also veered significantly in the last few years.
          2004      2007
Dem.    33%      33%
I/D      14%       17%
I/R       12%      11%
Rep.     29%      25%

--As I've discussed elsewhere, the GOP appears to be shrinking to include only those who hold certain beliefs, and the overall numbers of people who hold those beliefs are shrinking. This shrinking number of Republicans thus hold views that are increasingly out of whack not just with Democrats, but with Independents (including Independents who were formally Republicans.) Just 28% of Independents say they are satisfied with the way the country is going, compared with 58% of Republicans. 71% of Independents think the government should guarantee food and shelter for all, compared with 47% of Republicans. 46% of Independents thing the best way to achieve peace is through military strength, compared with 72% of Republicans. Similar gaps exist in religious and social values, and all of these gaps are widening rapidly -- not as a fluctuation, but as a steady change in attitudes for all but the Republicans.

--As I've also argued, this gap is even more marked among core conservative Republicans, who have come to dominate the party platform as the party sheds its more moderate members. On issues like the minimum wage, environment, assistance for the poor, affirmative action, size of government, attitude toward the UN, immigration, and others, the GOP has boldly placed itself on the opposite side from a growing majority of mainstream Americans -- and the Presidential nomination process, dominated by conservatives, will likely serve to reinforce the gap.

--Young adults, age 18-29, have very tolerant social attitudes (94% approve of inter-racial dating, for example), and a much more positive view of government than the older generations. Unfortunately, they also have worse attitudes about voting and participation.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Talking Politics Archives