My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Found another one of these political quiz things, and this one didn't insult me! The questionnaire is from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. I especially liked it because it mentioned poverty for once, although I didn't notice any mention of racism. Most discussions completely neglect the issues that are important to me. But that's just because we're all middle class now and every American is now judged on the content of character rather than skin color since the victory of the Civil Rights Movement. Right?


My results:


Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Liberal typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Liberals represent 17 percent of the American public, and 19 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
This group has nearly doubled in proportion since 1999, Liberals now comprise the largest share of Democrats and is the single largest of the nine Typology groups. They are the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship. They differ from other Democratic groups in that they are strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration, issues which are more controversial among Conservative and Disadvantaged Democrats.

Defining Values
Strongest preference for diplomacy over use of military force. Pro-choice, supportive of gay marriage and strongly favor environmental protection. Low participation in religious activities. Most sympathetic of any group to immigrants as well as labor unions, and most opposed to the anti-terrorism Patriot Act.

Who They Are
Most (62%) identify themselves as liberal. Predominantly white (83%), most highly educated group (49% have a college degree or more), and youngest group after Bystanders. Least religious group in typology: 43% report they seldom or never attend religious services; nearly a quarter (22%) are seculars. More than one-third never married (36%). Largest group residing in urban areas (42%) and in the western half the country (34%). Wealthiest Democratic group (41% earn at least $75,000).

Lifestyle Notes
Largest group to have been born (or whose parents were born) outside of the U.S. or Canada (20%). Least likely to report having a gun at home (23%) or attending bible study or prayer group meetings (13%).

2004 Election
Bush 2%, Kerry 81%

Party ID
59% Democrat; 40% Independent/No Preference, 1% Republican (92% Dem/Lean Dem)

Media Use
Liberals are second only to Enterprisers in following news about government and public affairs most of the time (60%). Liberals’ use of the internet to get news is the highest among all groups (37%).

Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December. Based on your answers to the survey questions, you most closely resemble survey respondents within this group, even though you may differ significantly on one or more issues or traits.

In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.


This is pretty close to reality. The exception in my case is that I am not among those "most opposed to an assertive foreign policy." I opposed the invasion of Iraq, but certainly not because I am some sort of pacifist. I strongly supported the military operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Somalia. My objection to Iraq had to do with the flagrant defiance of international law, as well as the obsurdity of the neocon war aims (A stable, pro-American democracy in the Arab world is an oxymoron - the people are much more hostile towards American policy than their dictators are. In Iraq, we seem to be creating a democratically elected pro-Iranian Shiite theocracy which is already persecuting religious minorities such as Assyrian Christians, as well as murdering political opponents and burying them in mass graves). If we want a real, sustainable world peace, it must be based on universal, enforcable international law. That means the US has to obey the law too. It also means that military force must be available to enforce the law.

I'm glad to see Liberals are gaining market share. The Conservative Movement was largely a cultural reaction to the Civil Rights era. It looks like the Age of Terror is creating its own backlash.

Take the quiz yourself. And check out the way they divide up the country, it's interesting and clarifying. Most of my liberal friends are mostly concerned about the Cultural Conservatives - personally I'm more worried about the Upbeats and the Enterprisers. It's a question of priorities - I find libertarianism more threatening than religious fascism. I do not believe that what is good for big corporations and the wealthy is necessarily good for America; I think we need to go after these people and bring them firmly under the control of the state. Without progressive taxation, labor and environmental laws, and government aid to the poor, the country will return to the Dickensian hell that it was a hundred years ago.

For this reason I actually view Pro-Government Conservatives as potential allies on some issues:
Pro-Government Conservatives stand out for their strong religious faith and conservative views on many moral issues. They also express broad support for a social safety net, which sets them apart from other GOP groups. Pro-Government Conservatives are skeptical about the effectiveness of the marketplace, favoring government regulation to protect the public interest and government assistance for the needy. They supported George W. Bush by roughly five-to-one.

This is the group that came into play last year when progressive sources pointed out that half of Bush supporters were not able to correctly identify his policy positions. They believed he supported the Kyoto treaty, etc. They do not understand that the Republicans want to abandon the poor to benefit the wealthy and powerful. If they did, they would not have voted for Bush. After all, 80% of them agreed with the statement "The government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt," compared with 57% of the general public.

I'm actually more comforable with these guys than I am with successful young white people who believe that believe that "success is in people's own hands, and that businesses make a positive contribution to society." If you honestly beleive that a five year old growing up today in Englewood has the same opportunity to make something of himself as a five year old growing up in Barrington, I want to see you look me in the eye and tell me why that is. Then I'll probably laugh in your face.

A few tidbits from Pew research which I found interesting:

Democrats lost the election because they lost on turnout.
Bush's core supporters ­ Enterprisers and Social Conservatives ­ report higher rates of voter turnout than do other groups in the typology. Just 4% of Enterprisers and 6% of Social Conservatives say they did not vote last November. By contrast, 13% in each of the three Democratic groups say they did not vote in the presidential election.

Bill Clinton is the most popular political figure in the country. 64% of Americans approve of him, including 53% of Pro-Government Conservatives. That boy could easily win a third term if he were allowed to run. Food for thought.

Update: Read the rest of the Pew study. I am shocked to learn that America is divided on the issue of whether the use of torture against suspected terrorists can be justified. 51% say never or rarely, while 45% say often or sometimes. This is the most distressing thing I've heard in a long time. After the Abu Ghraib thing I was convinced it was more like 75% against. It should go without saying that torture is never justified. Torture is an evil just as great as terrorism. It puts an even lower value on the dignity of human life than terrorism does. Killing people for a cause can be done without malice. In most cases it is very wrong, but it is understandable how an idealistic ninny could do it. Torture reveals a contempt for everything good and decent in the world. And don't anybody write me and tell me what bad people these suspected terrorists are. Your moral judgements about the victims of torture are not even the point. Children often blame their misbehavior on siblings or friends (but he started it, mom!), adults know they are responsible for their own action. Torturing people is always wrong.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your rant, and agreed with the vast majority of it. Actually, the only aspect I might question is your assertion that pro-government conservatives would not have voted for Bush if they understood his economic and other policies. It is possible that to those types of conservatives, the religious issues are more significant than the economic ones. (that explains WHY they don't understand Bush's stances on economic issues - they didn't care enough to do the research.) A lot of them seem to be literally the opposite of libertarians, but they both vote republican for the same reason: that party takes their side on the issues they value the most.

I will agree that pro-gov conservatives would be easier to gain as liberal allies, but that's only 'cause I think of most of them as intellectually lazy sheep who form opinions based on emotions and "common sense" instead of the actual reality of the world. You know, that might require reading the newspaper or going the library every once in a while. The right sort of propaganda and they're all ours. Alas, liberals suck as propaganda. Just look at Dennis Kucinich's political ads.

Oh, and happy birthday. *grin*


Elwood Grobnik said...

What really irks me about the report is that on the issues of universal health insurance and raising the minimum wage it breaks out as the "Enterprisers" against everyone else, but so far the Enterprisers have won every fight.