Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Study: Parties Face Polarized, Disaffected Voters

Partisan polarization, combined with growth of unpredictable, disaffected voter blocs, will challenge both Republican and Democratic candidates this year and in 2016, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. Pew's "voter typology" divides voters into cohesive groups based on attitudes and values to provide a "field guide" to the changing political landscape. The latest study describes eight voter types, including three groups that are strongly ideological, highly politically engaged and overwhelmingly partisan. Two of those three partisan voter types form the Republican base: Steadfast Conservatives (anti-government and socially conservative) and Business Conservatives (pro-business, limited government types but social moderates). Meanwhile, voters categorized as Solid Liberals provide loyal Democratic Party support. However, these three partisan voter types make up just 36% of the public and 43% of registered voters, which means victory for either party will depend on problematic wooing of votes from groups that are less predictable, less engaged and have "little in common with each other or the groups at either end of the political spectrum." Those five, less-partisan voter types are Young Outsiders (Republican-leaning but socially liberal), Hard-Pressed Skeptics (financially soured, former Obama backers), Next Generation Left (young, affluent, socially liberal but fiscally cautious), Faith and Family Left (Democrat-leaning but religious/socially traditional), and Bystanders (10% of the public and not registered to vote). Republican campaigns are likely to be further challenged by growing schisms between Steadfast Conservatives and Business Conservatives over social issues, big-business power and foreign policy, Pew researchers add. For details of the Pew study, go to http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/26/the-political-typology-beyond-red-vs-blue/

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