Our latest Political Typology survey sorts American voters into cohesive groups based on their attitudes and values and provides a field guide for the constantly changing political landscape. Here are some key facts and shareable findings about these groups and their views of the nation.
Steadfast Conservatives: Generally critical of government, especially social safety net programs, but also critical of big business and immigrants. Most are very socially conservative.
Business Conservatives: Overall, critical of government regulation and social-welfare spending, but not of big business. For the most part, moderate to liberal on social issues, with positive views toward immigrants.
Young Outsiders: Tend to be distrustful of government programs and fiscally conservative, but very liberal on social issues and not very religious.
Hard-Pressed Skeptics: Generally distrustful of government, except for social safety net spending. On average, low-income, anti-immigrant compared with other groups.
Next Generation Left: Generally positive feelings about government, but less so for social programs. Tend to be business-oriented and individualistic.
Faith and Family Left: By and large, highly religious, socially conservative, but strongly support social safety net and government action more broadly.
Solid Liberals: Overall, highly supportive of social programs, immigrants and government generally; very skeptical of business and markets. Consistently liberal on social issues, from homosexuality to environmental protection.
America’s Political Spectrum
- America’s political center is fractured into 4 groups that are as different from each other as from the left and right
- Groups in America’s political middle are less partisan, less predictable, and less engaged in politics
- There are three strongly partisan groups in the U.S. today – one left and two right – who make up 36% of the public
- 10% of the public are political bystanders: a young, diverse group on the sidelines
The Parties’ Coalitions
- “Solid Liberals” (17% of RVs) anchor the Democrats’ coalition, yet Dems must reach other groups
- Main anchors of Republican base are “Steadfast Conservatives” and “Business Conservatives”–27% of registered voters
- Both parties face formidable challenges in reaching beyond their bases to appeal to the middle of the electorate
The Groups in the Middle
- “Young Outsiders” lean Republican, but diverge from GOP orthodoxy on social and other issues
- Economically battered “Hard-Pressed Skeptics” supported Obama in 2012, but more divided today
- “Next Generation Left” — young, affluent, liberal but skeptical about cost of social programs
- Racially diverse “Faith and Family Left” lean heavily Democratic, but some uneasy with social change
Rifts on the Right
- 73% of “Steadfast Conservatives” see immigrants as a burden; just 21% of “Business Conservatives” agree
- Gap between “Business Conservatives” and “Steadfast Conservatives” on whether Wall St. helps or hurts economy
- “Steadfast Conservatives” deeply skeptical of US global involvement; “Business Conservatives” favor an active US role
Rifts on the Left
- Just 37% of “Faith and Family Left” support same-sex marriage, unlike “Solid Liberals” (89%)
- “Solid Liberals” more supportive of gov’t spending for poor than “Next Generation Left”
- 91% of “Faith and Family Left” say belief in God is necessary to be moral compared with 11% of “Solid Liberals”
Views of the Nation
- 76% of “Steadfast Conservatives” say the U.S.’s best years are behind us compared with 49% of overall public
- “Solid Liberals” (70%) and the “Next Generation Left” (65%) say the best is yet to come for the U.S.
- “Steadfast Conservatives” say reliance on principles key to U.S. success; “Solid Liberals” say it’s ability to change
- Majorities of all typology groups, especially conservative groups, express low levels of trust in government