Do you feel like you don’t belong to one or the other political party? here’s why
Americans are divided not only by party, but also within them, enough that Pew ideologically classifies Americans into nine distinct categories (one more than its latest version Four years agowith decidedly different contours.)
Clear lines are emerging when it comes to race, inequality, and what the government should be doing about it. There were also decidedly different views on the role of government as a whole, economic policy, immigration, religion, the United States’ standing in the world, and – for Republican-leaning groups – the former President Donald Trump.
Moreover, although polls have found broad support for a third outside the top two, the study shows that there is no magic middle ground. In fact, the study finds that the three groups with the most self-identified independents “have very little in common politically.”
There are also clear implications for congressional scrutiny. Although there has been so much focus on Democratic divisions between progressive and moderate wings in Congress, the study finds there are more divisions between Republican groups on the issues. But where Republicans have an advantage is having a sense of urgency about who is in charge in Washington. The strongest Republican groups more than the strongest Democratic groups think next year’s midterm elections “really matter.”
The typology was created using more than 10,000 survey interviews over an 11-day period last July. A typical national survey has about 1,000 respondents. This is the eighth typology created by Pew since 1987.
Here’s an overview of Pew’s nine categories (to see where you rank, you can take Pew’s quiz here):
Conservative Faith and Flag (10% of the public)
Committed Conservatives (7%)
Populist right (11%)
Ambivalent right (12%)
Stressed sideliners (15%)
Left outsider (10%)
Democratic Pillars (16%)
Establishment Liberals (13%)
Left progressive (6%)
Republican-leaning groups largely believe that the government is doing too much, that everyone has the ability to succeed, that the barriers that once made it harder for women and non-whites to advance are now gone, that Whites generally do not enjoy societal advantages over blacks, that political correctness is a major issue, and that military power is essential for the United States to remain a superpower.
Two-thirds also think the GOP should not accept elected officials who have openly criticized Trump.
However, they are divided on economic, social and foreign policy. Economically, there are differences over whether companies make a good amount of profit and whether taxes should be raised on the wealthy. They also don’t entirely agree on which is more important – the expansion of oil, coal and natural gas or the development of alternative energy supplies.
On social issues, they disagree on whether same-sex marriage or abortion should be legal, whether government policies should reflect religious beliefs, and even whether they feel uncomfortable hearing people speak a language other than English in public places. There are also differences about whether electoral changes that make it easier to vote would make elections less secure.
When it comes to foreign affairs, some think the United States should consider the interests of its allies, others don’t.
Conservative faith and flag
23% Republicans and Republican-leaning independents
bias the oldest of the Republican-leaning groups
deeply conservative on almost all issues
religious and want Christianity to be at the center of public life
very politically engaged; nearly 9 in 10 think who controls Congress after next year’s midterms ‘really matters’ – the highest of any group
predominantly white and Christian
among Trump’s staunchest supporters – most think Trump definitely or probably won the 2020 election
about 4 in 5 say too much attention has been paid to the January 6 uprising
only 15% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents
Highly educated and loyal Republicans who are very politically active; nearly 8 in 10 think the 2022 election results ‘really matter’
want limited government
less restrictive on immigration than the other two GOP-leaning groups
more “globalist” – in other words, they believe that the involvement of the United States in the world and with its allies should be a priority
less enthusiastic about Trump, but generally big fans of former President Ronald Reagan
23% Republicans and Republican-leaning independents
among the least likely to have a university degree and among the most likely to live in rural areas
immigration hardliners, even more so than Faith and Flag conservatives
very critical of the American economic system; a majority believes that “the country’s economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, that corporations in this country make too much profit, and that taxes on household incomes over $400,000 should be increased”
strong Trump supporters; 4 in 5 would like him to remain a top political figure, and nearly 6 in 10 want him to run again
around 8 in 10 think the 2022 election results ‘really matter’
18% Republicans and Republican-leaning independents
the youngest and among the least religious and politically active of the republican-leaning groups
most do not identify as “conservative” politically, but are conservative economically, on issues of race, and in that they prefer smaller government
more moderate than other Republicans on immigration, abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization
lean toward the GOP, but don’t fall in love with it; nearly two-thirds would like Trump not to remain a national figure; and, in fact, a quarter identify with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents
the only GOP-oriented group to say President Biden definitely or probably legitimately received the most votes in the 2020 election, and only about 4 in 10 think the results of the upcoming 2022 election “really matter”
15% Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 13% Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents
financially stressed and tend to lean to the left economically and socially conservative
the group that Hispanic Republicans are most likely to belong to
largely disengaged from politics; only around 4 in 10 people voted in 2020, and less than half think the 2022 election results ‘really matter’
While Democratic-leaning groups generally agree on many issues and say problems exist when it comes to racial and economic inequality, there is a gap in intensity about what needs to be done to address these issues. and how radical the solutions must be.
Pew notes that in past typologies it has found cracks among Democratic groups on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, but those no longer exist. Instead, the divides now center on how liberal the party is.
These Democratic-leaning groups believe in a strong federal government, which should do more to solve problems. They also agree that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful and that taxes on big business and corporations should be raised, as should the minimum wage (to $15 an hour).
They believe that more needs to be done to achieve racial equality, that non-whites face at least some discrimination, that significant barriers remain for women to advance, and that voting is a basic right and should not be not be restricted. When it comes to major foreign policy decisions, they agree that allies must be considered.
Cracks exist at the level of American military power and, to a lesser extent, social and criminal justice as well as immigration.
12% Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents
young and very educated
4 out of 5 people say they are “liberal”, 42% say they are “very liberal”
the largest Democratic group to say it backed the senses. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primaries (although they broke strongly for Biden in the general election against Trump)
very politically engaged; just over 8 in 10 believe the 2022 result “really matters”
more than two-thirds white
extremely liberal political positions
23% Democrat groups
very politically engaged; 77% say 2022 election result ‘really matters’
support for the Democratic Party and its leaders
liberal spirit, but prefer more measured approaches
when it comes to race, they say they recognize the ills of society and more needs to be done to correct them, but instead of wholesale change, they say it should come from existing laws and institutions
more inclined to support compromises and more welcoming to those who agree with Republicans on certain things
generally upbeat about politics and the country
28% Democratic-leaning groups, making it the largest of the Democratic groups
older, less likely to have a college degree than other Democrat groups
most identify as moderate
Black Democrats are concentrated in this group, although the group is the most racially and ethnically diverse of all groups
liberal views on race, economics, and the social safety net, but are more conservative on immigration and crime, and are mostly pro-military powerhouses
73% say 2022 election result ‘really matters’
16% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups
the youngest of the Democratic-leaning groups
liberal, especially on issues of race, immigration and climate
less politically active than other Democratic groups, are less reliable voters, are more likely to identify as independents; when they vote they massively break the democrats
not thrilled with the Democratic or Republican parties — or the country as a whole, for that matter
most say other countries are better than the United States, and nearly 9 in 10 don’t think there are candidates who represent their views
only about half say 2022 election results ‘really matter’
[Copyright 2021 NPR]