The presidential candidates appear to be focused on motivating their respective bases and getting them to turn out in November, a few news analysts suggested. But appealing to the base is more of a challenge than it used to be, according to recent surveys by the Pew Research Center.
Not only is there increased polarization on the issues separating Republicans and Democrats, there is increasing polarization among factions of the same party. In addition, political candidates must woo independents, who are equally polarized from both major political parties.
“A growing number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party, and the center of the political spectrum is increasingly diverse. Rather than being moderate, many of these independents hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy,” Pew researchers wrote in an online post headlined Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology.”
The Pew report segments political factions this way:
• Most Republican are Staunchly Conservative and Main Street Republicans;
• Independents include Libertarians, Disaffected and Post Moderns; and
• Many Democrats identify themselves as New Coalition Democrats, Hard-Pressed Democrats, Solid Liberals or Bystanders.
“The most visible shift in the political landscape since Pew Research’s previous political typology in early 2005 is the emergence of a single bloc of across-the-board conservatives. The longstanding divide between economic, pro-business conservatives and social conservatives has blurred,” the report says.
“Today, Staunch Conservatives take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues — on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral concerns. Most agree with the Tea Party and even more very strongly disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance. A second core group of Republicans — Main Street Republicans — also is conservative, but less consistently so.”
“On the left, Solid Liberals express diametrically opposing views from the Staunch Conservatives on virtually every issue. While Solid Liberals are predominantly white, minorities make up greater shares of New Coalition Democrats — who include nearly equal numbers of whites, African Americans and Hispanics — and Hard-Pressed Democrats, who are about a third African American.”
“Unlike Solid Liberals, both of these last two groups are highly religious and socially conservative. New Coalition Democrats are distinguished by their upbeat attitudes in the face of economic struggles,” the report stated.
So now that you know the names of most of the players, are you ready to take the News IQ Quiz and test your awareness on the differences between the two major parties?
The News IQ Quiz
Are you more news-savvy than the average American?
Test your knowledge of the major political parties by taking Pew Research's short 13-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with 1,000 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions in a national survey conducted March 29-April 1, 2012 by the Pew Research Center.
When you finish, you will be able to compare your News IQ with the average American, as well as with the scores of college graduates and those who didn't attend college; with men and women; and with people your age as well as other ages.