A new study was released from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. This study uses statistical techniques (cluster analysis) to break down the American electorate into 9 Political Typologies. Studies like this really crystallize for me why I’d like more than 2 options when I go to the polls.
Our 2 party system serves certain segments of the population very well. 20% of the population (Staunch Conservatives and Mainstream Republicans) are served very well by the Republican Party. 37% of the population (New Coalition Democrats, Hard Pressed Democrats, and Solid Liberals) strongly gravitate to the Democrats. The kicker is a full 33% of the population are lumped into an independent block of Libertarians, Disaffecteds, and Post Moderns. Throw in another 10% of “Bystanders” who don’t really follow politics very closely, and you have the current state of the electorate.
A couple of caveats:
1) The way Libertarians are defined in this study, it’s hard see them voting anything but Republican unless they are so turned off by a candidate’s strong position on social issues. This brings the Republican leaning group up to 29% of the population.
2) Post Moderns, as defined, will gravitate towards democrats. They could turned off by an “old-school”, pro-union style candidate.
This study opens up many questions in my eyes, including:
– Is there room for a third party?
– What are some of the defining characteristics of the left vs. the right?
– How does this frame the 2012 election?
To be continued……