JONATHAN CHAIT MAY 5, 2011
Here's another interesting thing from Pew Research Center's typology of the electorate. The study identified two primary swing groups. One is "Post Moderns," who are upscale and lean right on economics and left on social issues. The other is "Disaffecteds," who are downscale and have the opposite beliefs. Here are the Disaffecteds:
Disaffecteds are far less likely (21%) than most Americans (39%) to believe "Most corporations make a fair and reasonable profit." They're far more likely (61%) than most Americans (41%) to believe "The government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt."
Now let's look a the Post Moderns:
Again, on a few key political economy questions, this is a very conservative group. Compared to most Americans, they're far more hostile to helping the needy, making changes to give blacks equal rights, and they're considerable more friendly to Wall Street. How do you think Republicans and Democrats fare with these two swing groups?
The Disaffecteds tilt overwhelmingly Republican, and Post-Moderns overwhelmingly Democratic. Social issues turn out to play a huge role in driving the voting behavior, and economic issues very little role. (A big part of the GOP's gains in 2010 resulted from the more Democratic-leaning Post-Moderns vote staying home.) One strong clue here turns out to be religion -- the Disaffecteds are more religious than the public as a whole, and the Post-Moderns far more secular.