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2012 Election, Political Parties

Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

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……



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