NEW PolitIQs: Describing the Democratic Mix

Dear Friend,

The Pew Trust recently released its 2014 Political Typology report. Rather than describe voters as simply D/R/I, the report breaks down the American electorate into eight different groups.  Three of these groups are strongly ideological, highly politically engaged and overwhelmingly partisan – two on the right and one on the left (Solid Liberals).  And as Solid Liberals account for only 17% of registered voters, Democrats must turn to three of the five other typologies that are less partisan and harder to predict.

Progressives need a better understanding of three of these left leaning typologies if we are to pick up seats in the House and retain the Senate in 2014. Here’s an overview of these groups as Pew defines them.

  •  The Next Generation Left account for about 13% of registered voters. Pew describes them as young, relatively affluent and very liberal on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. But they have reservations about the cost of social programs. And while most of them support affirmative action, they decisively reject the idea that racial discrimination is the main reason why many blacks are unable to get ahead.  They are reliable Democratic votes but don’t consider themselves “strong Democrats” and don’t join in on the bashing of Wall Street. They are politically engaged at a higher rate than the other two typologies described below.  

  •  The Faith and Family Left is about 16% of registered voters. They lean Democratic, based on their confidence in government and support for federal programs to address the nation’s problems. But this very religious, racially and ethnically diverse group is uncomfortable with the pace of societal change, including the acceptance of homosexuality, legalization of marijuana and non-traditional family structures.  
  • Hard-Pressed Skeptics account for about 13% of registered voters. These are individuals who have been battered by the struggling economy; hence they are resentful of both government and business. Despite their criticism of government performance, they back more generous government support for the poor and needy. Most say they voted for Obama in 2012, though fewer than half approve of his job performance today. They are dissatisfied and cynical and account for only 9% of the “engaged electorate.” But as much as they are skeptical of Democrats, they are even more reluctant to trust Republicans.

Generally these potential Democratic voters are less politically engaged than the steadfast groups on the right or left. Solid Liberals self report as much as an 18% more likelihood to vote  than these mid term targets for us. And solid Liberals are as much as 22% more likely to follow government and public affairs. And as the chart below shows, our advantage with these voters is significantly less than 2012.


Next week we will begin to delve deeper into the issues that unite and divide these Democratic coalition partners — alas the messaging is very different for each of these subgroups.

In them meantime, if you’d like a more detailed discussion of the eight political typologies, here's the entire Pew Study. And as always, we invite you to join our voter research conversation on Twitter @ChismStrat.

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Chism Strategies is America’s leading direct voter contact firm. We are innovators, grounded in the best social science research, with decades of experience in the field to mobilize voters and change public opinion. 




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