Post-modern politics and the Pew typology

Lots of people love filling out quizzes to find out things about themselves they probably already know, and if you’re that type of person here’s another one for you: the new “political typology” quiz from the Pew Research Center. It’s part of a new and interesting Beyond Red vs. Blue research study designed to suss out how people in the United States cluster in their political views.

My responses put me in the Post-Moderns group, though I should note that I didn’t fit the profile exactly in terms of my answers to the quiz, and also that some of the questions don’t allow for nuance or none of the above answers. For example, in national security matters I’m a follower of Thomas P.M. Barnett, and thus consider non-military approaches to security, including extending economic globalization, equally as important as military efforts. However the response Good diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace doesn’t really capture that very well, so I answered the opposite, The best way to ensure peace is through military strength.

Out of curiosity I went looking for other takes on the report. Here are some of the ones I found most interesting in an initial search via Google news:

  • The American Political Landscape: More Interesting Than You Thought, by Michael Scherer. A good brief summary of the report for those who don’t want to read the whole thing. His takeaway: … while the country is historically polarized, the edges do not command all that many of the votes. Elections are still decided by groups that are motivated less by ideology than by identity, whether it be socioeconomic or cultural.
  • Study Captures Electorate Beyond Red vs. Blue, by David Paul Kuhn. Another good overview, with a particular emphasis on the Republican-leaning clusters: … the right’s center of gravity has centralized. Conservatives are pulled rightward less because of any one sphere of conservatism than because of conservatism itself. This convergence is likely, if not largely, owed to a Democratic president pushing Democratic policies. … Antagonists have always rallied political coalitions.
  • The misunderstood independent, by Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza. Points out that it is a mistake to think of independents or moderates as monolithic groups (or for that matter as the same group): Pew identifies three different kinds of independents. … A look at their views on issues shows those three groups can often be among the most extreme on a given topic. … While the middle of the road is often the best track to getting independent votes, the data suggests that may appeal to one set of independents but irritate another.
  • Pew Report And Osama Bin Laden: Why The Presidential Approval Rating Bump Won’t Last, by Mark Blumenthal. Leaving aside the topical discussion of Obama’s approval ratings, the underlying point of this article is that partisan divides are now oriented around attitudes about government rather than attitudes about national security: What now divides the party groups more clearly are attitudes about the efficiency and worthiness of government and the social safety network. These are also the issues now most likely to create cross-pressure on true swing voters.
  • What drives swing voters?. Compares voting behavior of the Disaffected and Post-Moderns, and concludes that Social issues turn out to play a huge role in driving the voting behavior, and economic issues very little role.
  • Pew report offers clues to lasting impact of recent GOP wins, by Jon Cohen. Highlights the continued allegiance of libertarians to the Republican party, despite major differences on social issues. (Note that this runs contrary to Chait’s thesis.)
  • Poll shows a nation deeply divided and more doctrinaire, by Dan Balz. Highlights ongoing political polarization: Staunch Conservatives and Solid Liberals … are more ideologically consistent internally while sharing almost nothing in common with each other on major political issues. … Many in the middle hold strong, ideological views.

If I have time I’ll try to track down more analyses and post links to them. In the meantime have fun taking the quiz yourself! (Or, alternatively, have fun guessing how my fellow Howard County bloggers will end up on the typology map. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only Post-Modern out there.)

UPDATE: Corrected the missing link on the Mark Blumenthal article.