Politics

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The evil party vs. the stupid party. You must choose.

Zogby International blows up the conventional belief that non-Republocrats are more "moderate" than party members.

"This view mistakes a lack of party affiliation for ideological innocence," John Zogby and Zeljka Buturovic write of a poll in which Republicans, Democrats and Independents were made to confess their ideological beliefs.

Kudos to Zogby for including "libertarian" along with "liberal," "conservative" and "moderate" in its list of ways to lose your ideological innocence. Only 2 percent each of Republicans and Independents cop to having had "libertarian" thoughts. A big fat zero (0) percent of Democrats claim to be libertarian, which probably just means Democrats are more honest in answering pollsters.

Zogby's groatsworth of wit on how this works for party tent-making:

According to the view most often heard from the left, right-wing extremists are trying to hijack the Republican Party by imposing rigid tests of ideological purity. This will, they suggest, make the base of the party so small that it won't be able to appeal to independents.

The problem with this view is not all independents are moderates, and some of them are likely the very people "hijacking" the Republican Party. There exists a real possibility that making the Republican Party more conservative will expand its base by luring some of the independents into the fold. Conservative backlash that forced Dede Scozzafava from the race is essentially a process that tries to bring the Republican Party and its base into an ideological alignment that already exists among Democrats.

I am puzzled by how Zogby arrives at the conclusion that Independents are less moderate than currently believed, given that 61 percent of Independents in this poll self-identified as "moderate." (The explanation may be that two-thirds of the people identified as "Independent" by Zogby are actually registered Democrats or Republicans. At least that's what this sentence, which I think makes more sense in the original Klingon, seems to say: "On the other hand, somewhat less than a third of likely voters, who call themselves independents, belong to a group of people who are not affiliated with either party.") Zogby and Buturovic should show their work.

But it makes intuitive sense that the set of "independent" voters includes people whose views are outside the narrow no-man's-land between the two major parties.

NEXT: Rupert Murdoch's Definition of Libertarianism: "Don't trust the government, don't trust me, just trust yourself."

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  1. “A big fat zero (0) percent of Democrats claim to be libertarian, which probably just means Democrats are more honest in answering pollsters.”

    So now we have some definitive proof that the liberaltarian idea was doomed to failure? There was no rich vein of potential conveerts among the Democrats.

    1. That figure just shows that Zogby didn’t poll Dave Weigel.

  2. Zogby and Buturovic should show their work.

    From the table:

    11% of those Independents are to the left of the Democrat Party.

    26% of Independents are to the right of the GOP

    1. Not surprising at all.

      The GOP is really nothing but Democrat-lite.

  3. Excellent Report Man reference, Tim. But I was expecting more of a we’re-All-criminals-now kind of post.

    1. Wow. “Repo” Man. New phone spell correct on the fly and doesn’t ask confirmation consistently.

  4. …whose post here had nothing whatsoever to do with Ayn Rand, was nevertheless told it looked like spam and that if it is not, a moderator will post it later.

    Yeah, sure, when it’s no longer gonna gave the world.

    As if.

    *pout

  5. On the other hand, somewhat less than a third of likely voters, who call themselves independents, belong to a group of people who are not affiliated with either party.

    With those commas, that should mean that about one-third of likely voters are not affiliated with either party, and (thus) call themselves Independents.

    1. Note that this also connects in a somewhat unexpected way with the last sentence in the previous paragraph–he’s saying that not only aren’t all independents moderates, but not all moderates are independents. Based on the info given, some 22% of the electorate are moderate independents, leaving some 18% of the electorate “moderate” but either Republican or Democrat.

  6. Only 2 percent each of Republicans and Independents cop to having had “libertarian” thoughts.

    Based on the “libertarian” thoughts expressed in H&R, I can understand the reticence. 😉

  7. “61 percent of Independents in this poll self-identified as”…UNINFORMED, reluctant to tell pollsters the truth, chicken…

  8. The religious right won the war for the GOP base and fucked us all. There is no hope that the country will embrace libertarianism soon enough to halt the impending DOOM

  9. Zogby is a pretty Klingon-sounding name too. Just needs an apostrophe, like “Zo’gby”

  10. 61 percent of Independents in this poll self-identified as “moderate.”

    Almost 100% of status quo self-identify as rational and sane, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into that number.

  11. Many “independents” have much stronger views than Dems or Repubs. Some are socialists, some are libertarians, some are authoritarians.

  12. Okay, I’ve looked up “groatsworth of wit” and the only agreement on what it means seems to be that no one is quite sure what Greene meant by it.

    1. A groat was an old English silver coin worth four pennies (though groat also means hulled grain). So the phrase means “not much.”

  13. Tim, where the fuck do you live? Why are you on such an insane sleep cycle? I always see you posting at the weirdest hours.

    It’s like you woke up to secretly go to 4chan for…work-related purposes and then decided that since you’re already up that you might as well post.

    I’ll get to the bottom of this. I’m batman.

  14. Independents consist of the mushy middle and strongly ideological groups that don’t find the coalitions controlling the major parties acceptable. The %s of self-idendified conservatives and liberals in the independents are approximately equal to the %s of independents who think Rs aren’t conservative enough or Ds aren’t liberal enough and the conservative contingent is larger than the liberal one. I don’t think this changes much over time – the polls that have asked similar questions in the past have given similar results as far as I remember.

  15. Once again someone comes to the realization that two flavors of tasteless ice cream is not enough for most people.

    1. I actually ran a middle-school science fair project about that….turns out, the flavor doesn’t matter at all. It’s all about the color!

      Put brown food coloring into vanilla pudding, and most people will identify it as chocolate pudding.

  16. Great post. i like this:

    There exists a real possibility that making the Republican Party more conservative will expand its base by luring some of the independents into the fold.

    John Birch Society. ’nuff said.

  17. 61 percent of Independents in this poll self-identified as “moderate.”

    And Dan Rather thinks the New York Times is absolutely middle-of-the-road.

    I’m one of the most moderate, reasonable people I know. All of my H&R posts prove it.

  18. Zogby isn’t the most respected pollster out there, but this lacks even basic analysis. He’s just throwing some numbers out there and seeing if they stick.

    It’s not really surprising that they couldn’t find any Democrats to identify as Libertarian…just look at the last election. They elected the first black president, and the Libertarians ran Bob Barr.

    What Zogby appears to have done is run a poll asking people about their identity politics. It would have been much more interesting to hear about responses to some actual concrete policy prescriptions, rather than which team they root for.

  19. A party by any other name would whither and die….

    And speaking of names, folks: why don’t they just rename themselves the “Tea Party” and be done with it. This is certainly not the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

    Is it the goal of these clowns that they destroy the GOP in order that it may be rebuilt in their hideous image? If that is the case they’re in for more-than-a-few surprises. That silly party is already “in their image”. Are they serious when they imply that they wish to move it even further to the right? How “far right” can one move before one falls off of the face of the earth? Are they serious?

    Watching the utter implosion of the Grand Old Party in the last year has been the gift that just keeps giving and giving. Someone pinch me!

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

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