Friday, May 6, 2011

Confession: Liberal

A spokesperson for Walmart explained that after exhausting all other customer segments:

Now we only have one segment left…People who self-identify themselves as liberals. …
Advertising Age is also following the Walmart saga closely.  On March 6, it wrote about Walmart’s enormous influence over the retail industry.  This could be a force in favor of better industry self-regulation (if such a thing is possible):
Walmart, however, clearly has been out in front of the rest of the industry on many issues. And unlike a government, it isn’t bound by constitutional due process that bogs regulations sometimes for years. No Tea Party representatives are trying to withhold funds for its greenhouse-gas reduction plans. And with billions of dollars at business at stake for its biggest customers, Walmart wields a bigger stick than any fines a government can impose.

Yglesias points out the differences among self-identified liberals makes it difficult to create consensus. Pew divides liberals into three camps: “solid liberals” – mostly whites who favor the entire left-wing agenda – “hard-pressed dems” who tend to be poorer, less educated, more diverse (African-American), and more religious, and “new coalition” Democrats who are also more religious and diverse (Hispanic) but are more optimistic than hard-pressed dems. The chart shows how they disagree.

Pew and Yglesias seem to think that the recession and Obama have unified fiscal and religious conservatives, but I think this has more to do with strategy than any actual conversion of small-government Republicans to wanting to prevent gay marriage, for example. It has more to do with religious conservatives deciding they are on a Tea Party crusade to shrink government (without touching their own handouts) rather than focus on the needs of the poor. I think it also has to do with more Republicans moving into the Disaffected category (42% of whom identify conservative and 38% moderate):
Like the core GOP groups, most Disaffecteds (73%) view government as nearly always wasteful and inefficient. At the same time, a solid majority of Disaffecteds (61%) say the government should do more to help needy Americans even if that means going deeper into debt.
So really they just moved some people from Republican to Republican-leaning and then call it unification among conservatives. Oh well.

Other interesting points from the survey:
  • Core GOP groups largely prefer elected officials who stick to their positions rather than those who compromise. Solid Liberals overwhelmingly prefer officials who compromise, but the other two Democratic groups do not.
  • New Coalition Democrats are more likely than the other core Democratic groups to say that most people can make it if they are willing to work hard.
  • There are few points on which all the typology groups can agree, but cynicism about politicians is one. Majorities across all eight groups, as well as Bystanders, say elected officials lose touch with the people pretty quickly.

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