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Pew Research helps you find where you fit in the political spectrum

July 3rd, 2014 Comments off

I admit to being a bit of a sucker for those online tests of where you fit in the political spectrum. It does a journalist good to be shown where the prejudices lie and it is no harm for readers either.

The latest I’ve tried is from that well respected non-partisan US organisation the Pew ResearchCenter for the People & the Press which tries to measure the shades and hues of the public’s political attitudes and values.

Partisan polarization – the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats – is a defining feature of politics today. But beyond the ideological wings, which make up a minority of the public, the political landscape includes a center that is large and diverse, unified by frustration with politics and little else. As a result, both parties face formidable challenges in reaching beyond their bases to appeal to the middle of the electorate and build sustainable coalitions.

The latest Pew Research Center political typology, which sorts voters into cohesive groups based on their attitudes and values, provides a field guide for this constantly changing landscape. Before reading further, take our quiz to see where you fit in the typology.

The findings:

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But where would you fit? Well Pew has devised a little test so you can find out. Here’s the verdict on me after I pretended to be a US citizen:

3-07-2014 ideologyplacementSo what does that suggest I am? According to Pew I am a Solid Liberal along with 15% of the public which means:

2012 vote: 89% for Obama | 3% for Romney
Generally affluent and highly educated, most Solid Liberals strongly support the social safety net and take very liberal positions on virtually all issues. Most say they always vote Democratic and are unflagging supporters of Barack Obama. Overall, Solid Liberals are very optimistic about the nation’s future and are the most likely to say that America’s success is linked to its ability to change, rather than its reliance on long-standing principles. On foreign policy, Solid Liberals overwhelmingly believe that good diplomacy – rather than military strength – is the best way to ensure peace.

Nothing I can disagree with there. So keep that in mind when reading the Owl. It’s better to know the starting point of pundits than not.

 

 

More and more young people see politicians motivated by selfish reasons

May 5th, 2014 Comments off

The level of trust that young Americans between 18- and 29- years old have in most American institutions continues to fall at an alarming rate.

The latest Youth Poll of the Harvard Public Opinion Project finds that in the last 12 months, trust in the President has decreased from 39 percent to 32 percent, the U.S. military has decreased from 54 percent to 47 percent (the first time below a majority) and the Supreme Court from 40 to 36 percent.

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The growing lack of trust in the President comes from Democrats (64% trusted the President to do the right thing all or most of the time in 2013, today the number is 53%) and Independents (31% in 2013, 23% today) — and not from Republicans whose opinion has not changed in the last year. Thirteen percent (13%) of Republicans trust the President to do the right thing all or most of the time. These findings stand in contrast to the U.S. Military; over the last year, the military has lost trust across all parties (Democrats are down 6 points to 44%, Republicans 5 points to 63% and Independents down 8 points to 40%).

There are somewhat depressing attitudes among the young to many aspects of the political process too. For example,since 2010, there has been a consistent six-point increase in those who agree with the statement that“elected officials seem to be motivated by selfish reasons,” more than three-in-five (62%) now agree with this; and a similar six-point increase with agreement that “political involvement rarely has any tangible results” (23% in 2010, 29% in 2014).We also have tracked a seven-point increase in the number who agree with the statement, “elected officials don’t seem to have the same priorities I have” (51% in 2010, 58% in 2014).

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There is perhaps a clue to where the young are being influenced in their attitudes by the Harvard Study’s findings about the growing use of most social networking platforms and communications tools. 

Since a previous poll was taken in the fall of 2013, the percentage of 18- to 29- year olds who have a:

 

  • Facebook account grew from 79 percent to 84 percent;
  • Google+ account growth expanded from 37 percent to 44 percent;
  • Twitter growth increased from 35 percent to 40 percent;
  • Instagram from 30 percent to 36 percent;
  • Pinterest from 25 percent to 33 percent;
  • Snapchat from 16 percent to 23 percent; and
  • Tumblr from 10 percent to 14 percent.
With slightly more than three-in-five (61%) students in graduate school having a Google+ account, use among this cohort is significantly higher than students in high school (40%), college (41%), or those who are not in college and never attended (41%). Google+ is also more popular among young Blacks(54%) than young Whites under 30 years old.Facebook (87%), Twitter (47%), Instagram (45%), Pinterest (37%), Snapchat (34%) and Tumblr (19%) areall more popular among college students than among young Americans who are not in, or never haveattended, college.
 
When we asked the open-ended question, “What is the one website, social network, or app that youcould not live without?” we found that while Facebook was the overall winner by a significant margin (24% compared to 7% for the second most mentioned site, Google), there were significant differences based on what level of education one was enrolled in.

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