Seen through the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press’ political typology of 1990, the American electorate presents a disquieting picture of political gridlock. Despite the personal popularity of President Bush, cynicism toward the political system in general is growing as the public in unprecedented numbers associates Republicans with wealth and greed, Democrats with fecklessness and incompetence. This cynicism, combined with increased economic polarization among Americans at all but the wealthiest levels (especially among the poor and minority populations), threatens to subvert traditional partisan politics or block the effective resolution of social and economic issues. In addition, while anti-communism is fading as a factor in American politics, anti-Japanese sentiment has soared as economic expectations plummet.
The Times Mirror typology was constructed by classifying people according to nine basic values and orientations, by their party affiliation and by their degree of political involvement. This 1990 study represents the fourth in a series of annual typology analyses initiated by the Center in 1987.