Monday, December 28, 2015

The Deep and Growing Ideological Divide in the 2016 Presidential Election

From Gerald Seib, at WSJ, "Most Important Election 2016 Feature: Deep and Growing Ideological Divide":
As the nation heads into what figures to be a dramatic election year, its defining political characteristic isn’t love or hate for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
Instead, the most important feature of America’s political landscape is a deep and growing ideological divide.

This divide will be especially apparent early in the new year, when the most divided groups in America, the Republican and Democratic voters who show up for primary elections and caucuses, hold the keys to the presidential selection process. These folks disagree, deeply, on an array of social issues, on the nation’s top priorities, and on what kind of leader they are seeking in the next president.

Collectively, these voters are driving Republican candidates to the right and Democratic candidates to the left—and ensuring that the challenge of bringing the country together will be tougher after the election, regardless of who wins.

A clear picture of this divide emerges from the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, taken in mid-December. Consider:

— Almost 7 in 10 Republican primary voters describe themselves as strong supporters of the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. Among Democratic primary voters, the figure is just 25%.

— Among Democratic primary voters, 62% say they strongly back immediate action to combat climate change. Just 13% of Republican primary voters share that view.

— A new issue splitting the parties at their bases is the Black Lives Matter Movement. Almost half of Democratic primary voters call themselves strong supporters of the movement. Only 6% of Republican primary voters do so.

— The National Rifle Association drives one of the biggest wedges of all. Among Republican primary voters, 59% strongly support the NRA, while just 11% of Democratic primary voters are strong backers.

Republican primary voters put national security and terrorism at the top of their list of priorities for the government. Democratic primary voters put job creation and economic growth at the top of the priority list. About a third of Democrats say health care is a high priority; among Republicans, a comparable share worry about deficits and government spending.

Republicans are more likely to say they worry that the U.S. isn’t projecting a sufficiently tough image abroad; Democrats are more likely to say they think the U.S. should be focused on concerns at home.

When pollsters asked what voters are looking for in the next president, Republicans used terms like bold and a strong leader who could restore American strength abroad. Democrats were more likely to say they want a leader who is diplomatic and inclusive and who will preserve recent progressive gains.

These differences are why the country has two main political parties, of course, and they aren’t entirely new. But there is clear evidence that the ideological divides are bigger than they used to be...
Still more.

And flashback to November, "WELL, WITH THE WORST POLITICAL CLASS IN HISTORY, THERE’S PLENTY TO BE ANGRY ABOUT: Americans’ Mood Darkened by Widespread Anger, New WSJ/NBC News Poll Finds."