Sunday, November 24, 2013

More on the Political Ideology of the American Electorate

In a recent paper by Edward Carmines, Michael Ensley, and Michael Wagner entitled “Why American Political Parties Can’t Get Beyond the Left-Right Divide,” there is an ideological assessment of the 2012 electorate as well as previous presidential year electorates in terms of ideology, turnout, and support for each of the two major political parties that is illuminating. Using the ANES data on citizens’ positions on issues, the authors calculated the percentages of each ideology (liberal, conservative, populists, and libertarians) and of moderates for the electorate from 1972 to 2012. The figure below depicts the ideologies of the 2012 electorate (I’ve added the red and blue boxes [no partisan significance in the use of the colors] to depict how far from the center adherents of each ideology are):

First, I have charted the percentages for each ideology and moderates for the presidential elections from 2000 to 2012:
I have also charted each ideology in terms of voter turnout, support for Democrats, and support for Republicans during each presidential election year since 2000. The charts are below:

What are we to make of these? As one would anticipate, the loyalty to Democrats is greatest among liberals, populists, and moderates. Conversely, loyalty to Republicans is greatest among conservatives and libertarians. Only in 2004 were moderates more loyal to Republicans than to Democrats.
Concerning the size of each ideology in the electorate, the percentage of conservatives and liberals are nearly the same. Libertarians and populists are usually smaller, but the percentage of libertarians has grown in the last two elections. The percentage of moderates has also grown slightly since 2000. What’s your interpretation of the data?

No comments:

Post a Comment