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ideological and electoral drifts:
just some random notes.
According to Harris polls on voter self-identification the self-identification of randomly sampled voters, either by party or by ideology, has changed in only one way since the 1970s: Democrats have lost to "not sure/other".
There's a paper from Policy Analysis, 1981 that looked at policy preferences and the Carter election with a variation of an Eysenck model. They found that 72.8% of the respondents fell into a consistent ideological set of policy preferences, so defined, between populist [ed:defined as economic liberal/social conservative] (23.6), conservative (17.9), divided/undecided (17.6), liberal (16.4), libertarian (13.1), inattentive (9.8), centrist (1.6). We would expect, just from the correlation found between populism giving way to liberal/libertarian mindsets with higher education, that these demographics might have seen some shifting where on one dimension no movement is visible, but that's entirely speculative and I can't find any more current analysis of policy preferences on similar grounds. We note the narrow interest in personal liberties expressed by the measure of minority liberal/libertarian preferences as of 1976 with some surprise, but then again it's all normative and we don't have access to the actual data. I don't particularly care for the ideological model, but it's interesting to look at.
And a commenter here notes a post by Chris Bowers on the economic disparity between the electorate and the general population in presidential elections since 1976. We note a certain correlation, and would add that the Democrats' "centrist" organizations have primarily sought to go, and proselytize in favor of, conservative frameworks.
But these polls are about voter mentality, not the way the Parties are run. Randomly grabbing a book off the shelf, C Wright Mills observed fifty odd years ago regarding the divisions between the elites who run the country:
In the higher circles of business and its associations, there has long been a tension, for example, between the 'old guard' of practical conservatives and the 'business liberals', or sophisticated conservatives. What the old guard represents is the outlook, if not always the intelligent interests, of the more narrow economic concerns. What the business liberals represent is the outlook and the interests of the newer propertied class as a whole. They are 'sophistcated' because they are more flexible in adjusting to such political facts as the New Deal and big labor, because they have taken over and used the dominant liberal rhetoric for their own purposes, and because they have, in general attempted to get on top of, or even slightly ahead of, the trend of these developments, rather than to fight it as practical conservatives are wont to do.
I don't understand the stubborn adherence to the conservative v. liberal false dichotomy, but that might begin to describe it.
:: posted by buermann @ 2005-09-28 18:20:38 CST |