This is the tenth in a series about the results of the Pew Research survey, Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007.
The Pew Research subtitle for this survey was “Political Landscape More Favorable to Democrats.” Their survey showed a 39% decrease in preference for the Republican party and an 8% increase for the Democrat party. The survey also showed that Independents favorable view of Republicans has dropped 30% since 2001.
Pew Research also provided their summary of the survey. It stated on page 3 that the “Average percentage difference between the answers of Republicans and Democrats on 40 questions asked consistently through 20 years of interviewing” has increased 40% since 1987, or 1.3% per year. Since 1997, the difference has increased by 5.5% per year.
Democrats Stay The Course
Independents Move Left
I prefer the following subtitle alternatives for the survey, “Conservatives Without Conscience Continue To Drink The Kool Aid” or “Conservatives Without Conscience ‘Consume Mass Quantities’ of ‘Truthiness’ from the Fox ‘Noise’ Channel and radio talk shows.”
The two tables below highlight the dichotomy between the Republicans and the rest of the country in 2007. The first table shows those issues where others averaged higher than the Republicans. The second table shows those issues where others scored lower than Republicans. Each table includes a statement of the issue, the support level for Republicans and others, where others includes Democrats and Independents, and a comment, which I either derived from the available survey information or copied from the survey. The number in parentheses after the issue statement is the page # in the survey report where the data shown was reported.
The results from the 32 issues highlighted below is that Republicans are, on average, 20% out of sync with the rest of the nation and, as Pew Research indicated above, the difference between Republicans and ‘others’ is growing at about 1.5% per year based on seven of the issues described below. The 20% divergence is just for the 2007 survey results and is just a snapshot of the Pew trends stated above.
This differnce is likely even greater for the conservatives without conscience. For example the survey stated, “Six-in-ten moderate and liberal Republicans favor giving undocumented immigrants the chance to gain legal working status, compared with 45% of conservative Republicans. These differences have widened since last April, when 56% of moderate and liberal Republicans and 52% of GOP conservatives favored undocumented immigrants having the option to become citizens someday.”
|Satisfied with the Way Things Are Going in the Country Today (9)||58%||21%||“Currently, 28% of independents are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today, 14 points higher than among Democrats (14%), but 30 points lower than among Republicans (58%).”|
|The poor are too dependent on government assistance (14)||83%||60%||Note that there has been a 19% overall drop in this belief since 1994|
|Believe in smaller government (16)||68%||38%||Independents are more divided on this – 48% say they prefer a smaller government while 40% would rather have a bigger government.|
|I’m pretty well satisfied with the way things are going for me financially (18)||81%||54%||“The partisan split is especially notable among Americans of mid- to low income levels. Three-quarters of Republicans with household incomes of $50,000 or less say they are pretty well satisfied with the way things are going for them financially, compared with just 40% of Democrats and a similar share of independents (39%).”|
|The best way to ensure peace is through military strength (21)||72%||43%||This difference has grown 190% since 1997 when the survey showed the response was 65 to 55.|
|I am very patriotic (23)||61%||46%||Since 1999, this belief has decreased by 5% for Republicans and not changed for others.|
|Agree that we Americans can always find a way to solve our problems (23)||72%||55%||Since 1999 Republicans are 8% less sure and others are 21% less confident in our problem solving capabilities.|
|Change in “very favorable” view of the military since 2001 (24)||+28%||+14%||“The percentage of independents who express very favorable opinions of the military has nearly doubled since then (from 25% to 46%).”|
|Preemptive military action is “often/sometimes” justified (26)||80%||41%||Since 2003, support for preemptive action has increased by 3% for Republicans and decreased by 18% for others.|
|The government deserves “good marks for reducing the threat of terrorism” (26)||82%||36%||“While there is a growing partisan divide in opinions of the government’s anti-terror efforts, a substantial majority of Americans (70%) continue to believe that ‘occasional acts of terrorism in the U.S. will be part of life in the future.'”|
|We should restrict and control people coming into our country to live more than we do now. (27)||51%||38%||Since 2002, Republicans have dropped 2% in the support of this belief, while others have dropped 10%.|
|The growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values (28)||55%||40%||Since 2002, the only group to increase their support on this belief, by 12%, are conservative Republicans.|
|Percent agreeing with all three core religion questions (31)||79%||61%||Since 1987, Republicans have grown in their religious beliefs by 8% while Democrats have dropped by 7%. Independents are unchanged but rank religion in their life even lower that even do Democrats.|
|Positive response to 6 socially conservative values (32)||52%||43%||Since 1987, positive responses have dropped by 19% for all respondents and the gap between Republicans and others and almost doubled from 5% to 9%.|
|Favor making it harder to get an abortion (37)||53%||24%||“There is a very large intra-party gap among Republicans, with fully 63% of conservative Republicans wanting to make abortions harder to get, compared with only 37% of moderate and liberal Republicans;”|
|Favor the death penalty. (38)||78%||56%||“Support for the death penalty for persons convicted of murder is somewhat lower now than it was in the late 1990s, but opinions have changed little since 2001. Currently, 64% favor the death penalty, while 29% oppose it.”|
|Belief that the country has gone to far in pushing for equal rights (41)||60%||35%||“Nearly half of whites (48%) believe that the nation has “gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country”; far fewer African Americans (27%) share this view.”|
|The government is really run for the benefit of all the people. (46)||61%||40%||Since 1987, the gap between Republicans and others on this issue has increased by 9%|
|Warrantless Searches of those who may be sympathetic to terrorists is OK (60)||48%||30%||Since 2003, the gap between Republicans and others has increased by 21%.|
|Agree that freedom of speech should not be extended to those sympathetic to terrorists (60-61)||53%||41%||Only 29% of liberal Democrats agreed with limiting freedom of speech for terrorist sympathizers.|
|Agree that sacrificing some civil rights in the hope of curbing terrorism is OK. (61)||51%||36%||“A majority of Americans (54%) say it will not be necessary for the average person to give up some civil liberties in order to curb terrorism in this country, while 40% believe such sacrifices will be necessary.”|
|Total percentage points||1,326%||852%||The is an average 22 point gap between Republicans and others for the 21 issues above.|
|Help more needy people even if debt increases (13)||34%||63%||Since 1994, independents have increased their support of this issue by 57%.|
|Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control (15)||22%||37%||From 1994 to 2002, independents tracked with Republicans on this belief. Now they feel more strongly about it than Democrats.|
|Change in “positive opinion of the United Nations (24)||+5%||+10%||“In October 2005, positive views of the United Nations reached an all-time low. Just 48% had a favorable opinion of the U.N., a decline of nearly 30 percentage points since just before the 9/11 attacks (77% in early September 2001).”|
|Torture is never justified: (25)||22%||35%||“About the same numbers of white evangelical Protestants (28%) and seculars (25%) – two groups that typically have a very different outlook on foreign policy issues – say that the use of torture against suspected terrorists to gain important information is never justified.”|
|“Completely disagree” that “women should return to traditional roles in society” (35)||41%||56%||Since 1987, the gap between Republicans and others increased by 9%.|
|Change since 1997 in confidence as either very great or good in the judgement of the people . (50)||-1%||-7%||“56% of Democrats say they have ‘a very great deal’ or a ‘good deal’ of confidence in the judgment of the people, down 13 percentage points from 1997.”|
|Business corporations make too much profit (53)||54%||70%||Since 1987, Independents have moved closer to the Democrats reducing the gap from 9% to 1%.|
|Agree that Business corporations do not strike a fair balance between profits and public interest (53)||47%||61%||Just 38% feel that corporations strike a fair balance between profits and the public interest.|
|Agree that labor unions are necessary to protect workers (55)||53%||73%||“While labor unions struggle to maintain their central role in the American workplace, support for unions remains robust.”|
|Are concerned about personal information collected by business or government (59)||49%||72%||There is greater concern, 16% more, by all for information collected by business than by government.|
|There needs to be stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment (62)||65%||90%||Since 1992, the gap between Republicans and others has increased 19%. Only 58% of conservative Republicans agree.|
|Should be willing to pay higher prices to protect the environment. (63)||49%||66%||Nearly eight-in-ten moderate and liberal Republicans (78%) agree that such laws are needed, but just 58% of conservative Republicans agree. Democrats are unified on the need for tougher environmental laws and regulations.|
|Total percentage points||442%||640%||The is an average 18 point gap between Republicans and others for the 11 issues above.|
Why is this divergence so significant and growing? Why are the Independents joining the Democrats? Are the conservatives paranoid and will this divergence worsen their paranoia? What are they scared of? Do they see an enemy around every corner? Does this explain actions, writings and speeches from individuals like Ann Coulter? If this divergence continues, will these conservatives become even more aggressive? Will they become the “masses” that foster a single-party state in these United States?