Monday, March 02, 2015


We have two political parties, and voters in only one of them want their party to be more ideologically purist than it is now, according to a new YouGov poll:
Democrats, and independents who lean Democratic, tend to say that they don't want candidates of the Democratic Party to become either more or less liberal than they are now. 49% want them to remain about the same, while only 26% want Democratic candidates to become more liberal. 10% want Democratic candidates to become less liberal.

Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, however, 46% want their candidates to become more conservative. 32% say that they want the candidates to stay about the same, while 13% want them to be less conservative.
And yet:
Asked whether each party had become more ideologically exteme in recent years, the broader public tend to think that Democrats, not Republicans, have moved further away from the center ground. 42% of Americans, including 21% of Democrats, think that the Democratic Party has become more liberal in the past few years. 33% say it has remained the same while only 7% think it has become less liberal.

When it comes to the Republican Party, Americans are effectively split as to whether they have become more conservative (30%) or remained the same (28%) in recent years, while 19% think that Republicans have become less conservative.
So there's no pressure in the Democratic Party for candidates to be more liberal (which explains while Hillary Clinton is dominating the polls), but there's intense pressure on Republicans to just keep going further and further right. The fact that a lot of them have been doing just that is completely lost on most Americans. In particular, it's lost on Republicans themselves:
Republicans tend to think that the party has remained the same (46%) in recent years, but a third (32%) do think that the party has become less conservative in recent years.
Why do so many people think the Democratic Party is careening toward the extreme left? Um, could it be because the right-wing media sets the tone of all discussions of this question? Could it be that even though the mainstream press doesn't completely echo the right on this, the right's "socialism"-baiting of Obama influences MSM coverage, and thus public opinion overall?

Or is it just that the president is black?

But that wouldn't explain why so few people realize that the GOP is trending rightward. I'd say that people believe it isn't because (a) the right-wing media urges its audience to think the GOP is never conservative enough, and because (b) the MSM is always looking for evidence that the crazies in the GOP aren't really representative of the party, so mainstream journalists emphasize any glimmers of Republican reasonableness, and treat extreme GOP behavior as the work of a few bad, unrepresentative apples.

And so one party has gone nearly all the way to the edge, and is being urged to go farther. One hasn't gone far enough, and everyone thinks it's gone too far. And there's no sign this will change anytime soon.


Victor said...

"When it comes to the Republican Party, Americans are effectively split as to whether they have become more conservative (30%) or remained the same (28%) in recent years, while 19% think that Republicans have become less conservative."

No matter who the Democrats run in 2016, if the Republicans nominated a one-eyed pig, that pig will become the POTUS of the United States of the Blind.

trog69 said...

So many of my friends-not the FB ones, though-are barely aware of political events unless they've become a meme of some sort. They have no knowledge of local candidates unless it involves media coverage of their shenanigans. Most are proud of their ignorance, illogically assuming that it makes them smarter for eschewing such crazy shit.

complaints against various actions by government entities are always shallow, echoing whatever their neighbor imparted during the discussion.

I'm so scared for my childrens and grandchildren's futures.

BadTux said...

It's totally because the President is a ni-CLANG. Because everybody knows those darkies is all liberals, even the ones raised by bankers who coddle Wall Street, right?

Nope, no racism in America, nosirree!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin