June 5, 2012- Today’s primaries in California and Wisconsin will be watched by pundits around the country. While predicting the actual results may seem like a crapshoot, my bet is that you’ll get the most correct predictions by keeping your eye on the big picture and following the money.
The long view of today’s voting is that this is yet another battle in an epic struggle between increasingly polarized views on government. A study released yesterday by the Pew Research Center and fronted by the Washington Post this morning, confirms that the most significant divisions in the United States are no longer based on race, class or sex but on political identity.
The Pew surveys of American attitudes about politics go back 25 years and provide a series of historical benchmarks that are useful in examining changes that have occurred in what binds people and what divides them. While many things haven’t changed over the life of the surveys, the depth of political divisions is an eye opener. From the Washington Post story:
Twenty-five years ago, the gap between Republicans and Democrats on how they assessed the scope and performance of government was six percentage points. Today it is 33 points. On support for the social safety net, what once was a 21-point gap is now 41 points. On environmental issues, the gap has ballooned from five points to 39 points.
On some of these issues, the biggest changes in attitudes have been among Republicans. Twenty-five years ago, 62 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats said the government should take care of people who can’t take care of themselves. Today, 75 percent of Democrats agree with that statement, but the percentage of Republicans who agree has plummeted to 40 percent.
Read the rest at the San Diego Free Press