Friday, June 27, 2014

New Stats from Pew

Super-interesting stats from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press on political thinking among different parts of the U.S. population. They break us down beyond than the usual groups, using these categories:

  • Solid liberals
  • Faith and family Left
  • Next generation Left
  • Hard-pressed skeptics (still not sure what this one means)
  • Young outsiders
  • Business conservatives
  • Steadfast conservatives
  • Bystanders
You can take a quiz to figure out where you fit. (Big shock, I'm what they consider a solid liberal, though there were a couple of questions where I wavered). They give their definitions and methodology in the full report.

Some particularly interesting notes:
  • While over 95 percent of business and steadfast conservatives disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, only 59 and 70 percent of them (respectively) think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
  • 84 percent of steadfast conservatives disapprove of same-sex marriage, but only 49 percent of business conservatives do. (Fifty-four percent of the general population approves.)
  • Almost everyone (except the two most conservative groups) thinks alternative energy development should get priority over carbon-based energy exploration, including 65 percent of the general population.
  • Everyone -- including the most conservative segment -- says people who came to the country illegally should be eligible for citizenship. The general population number is 76 percent. (Okay, the steadfast conservatives are pretty evenly split, but still, 50 percent is higher than 49, ignoring the margin of error.)
  • Affirmative action enjoyed much broader support than I would have thought: 63 percent of the general population, and even 30 percent or so from the two most conservative groups.
  • I'm amazed at the percent of people who approve of the government collecting phone and internet data: 42 percent overall approve, including 53 percent of the so-called faith and family Left and next generation Left (another label of Pew's that I find less than helpful). This is one area where solid liberals and both kinds of conservatives come closest to agreeing that they disapprove of something.
  • Sixty-one percent of the general population believes in evolution (versus only 39 percent of steadfast conservatives, for instance). But an awful lot of people think their religion's holy book was written by God, and not by people. Including 78 percent of the badly named "hard-pressed skeptics." I guess they're skeptical about everything except their religion.

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