No, I’m kidding. They didn’t cheer. They just said we had it coming and shook their heads sadly.
Interesting wrinkle: This result seems largely immune from partisanship. In lots of political polls you can predict how Democrats and Republicans will tilt based on their feelings about who’s in the White House. If that were true here, you’d see liberals proud to be citizens of an Obama-led America and conservatives embarrassed. Instead we get the opposite. Patriotism (or lack thereof) transcends Hopenchange. Even more interesting is the “honor and duty” result. Normally when you ask a poll question loaded with virtuous phrases like that, respondents are eager to signal their assent. Not here. In fact, only among the two conservative groups tested do honor and duty as core values reach as high as 55 percent. Huh.
If you’re bored with the news this evening and eager for something tasty to chew on, let me encourage you to skim through the many (many) fascinating tables that Pew cooked up for its new study of ideological typology. What makes the study fascinating is that they didn’t rely on the old conservative/liberal dichotomy. They did something more granular, splitting righties into “steadfast conservatives” and “business conservatives” while splitting lefties into five separate subgroups. That’s why I was careful in the headline to emphasize it’s “solid liberals” who are weak on patriotism. They’re just a small part of the left overall; a more interesting part, as you’ll see if you sift through Pew’s data, is the “faith and family left,” 30 percent of whom are black and another 19 percent of whom are Latino. Here’s how they match up on various issues with “solid liberals” and young Democrats, the “next gen left”:
Solid liberals are highly skeptical that people can get ahead by working harder. The other lefty groups aren’t. Hmmmm. The differences between “steadfast conservatives” and “business conservatives” are also striking:
Interestingly, it’s “business conservatives” who are slightly more likely to say they agree with the tea party even though “steadfast conservatives” would seem a more natural match based on the points of difference between the two groups. This is dramatic too:
That’s the Rand Paul/Dick Cheney divide on foreign policy, right before your very eyes. Establishment/business conservatives favor activity abroad, “steadfast” conservatives don’t. And that may be another reason why Rand’s sounded a bit more dovish lately in talking about Iraq. His best bet to hold onto some conservatives as he builds moderate cred on other issues is to remind them that he’s still their best/only bet in the 2016 field for a more “modest” foreign policy.
As I say, lots more along these lines at the link. If you do start skimming, keep your eye on the “hard-pressed skeptics” group in each result. They’re the people who are struggling financially, more than half of whom earn $30,000 or less each year. They prefer Democrats overwhelmingly when given a binary choice, but on the issues they’re more equivocal. There’s room for GOP growth there if the party can craft an economic agenda that registers.