Ive just started reading this survey report, which is (inadequately, I think) summarized in this article. The allegedly big take-away from the survey is that both parties are more complicated than the simple "red vs. blue" storyline would have it.
Here are a few interesting snippets from the executive summary:
Republicans also have much in common beyond their overwhelming support for a muscular foreign policy and broad agreement on social issues. Voters inclined toward the Republican Party are distinguished from Democrats by their personal optimism and belief in the power of the individual. While some voting blocs on the right are as financially stressed as poorer Democrats, Republicans in this situation tend to be more hopeful and positive in their outlook than their more fatalistic counterparts in the Democratic Party.
Clearly, there is more than one kind of conservative. The Republican groups find common ground on cultural values, but opinions on the role of government, a defining feature of conservative philosophy for decades, are now among the most divisive for the GOP.
While the Republican Party is divided over governments role, the Democrats are divided by social and personal values. Most Liberals live in a world apart from Disadvantaged Democrats and Conservative Democrats.
I took the
typology questionnaire, which is supposed to help me identify myself. Turns out Im an "Enterpriser"; this "extremely partisan Republican group’s politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system and social values that reflect a conservative agenda. Enterprisers are also the strongest backers of an assertive foreign policy, which includes nearly unanimous support for the war in Iraq and strong support for such anti-terrorism efforts as the Patriot Act." My "defining values" are:
Assertive on foreign policy and patriotic; anti-regulation and pro-business; very little support for government help to the poor; strong belief that individuals are responsible for their own well being. Conservative on social issues such as gay marriage, but not much more religious than the nation as a whole. Very satisfied with personal financial situation.
I guess I didnt know that my satisfaction with my financial situation was a "value," and, since, as my wife is fond of saying, Im not a real doctor, Im not sure that "very satisfied" describes me in that respect anyway. Gentle readers, what do you think? Am I rightly described as an "enterpriser," or am I a "social conservative," "pro-government conservative," "upbeat," "disaffected," "bystander," "liberal," "disadvantaged Democrat," or "conservative Democrat"? This LAT
"Info Box" might help a little. And you should take the questionnaire yourselves, to see how satisfied you are with the distinctions the Pew Center asks you to make.