Sunday, June 04, 2006
More people say they are conservative, but want more spending
A reader suggested that I analyze in more detail the trends in politcal views. The graphs above display the issues where there have been noticeable changes. (The red line represents people who feel were are not spending enough--in the case of marijuana, it is the percent in favor of legalization). With only one issue--military spending--do we see a conservative trend. Republicans have benefitted from the post-9/11 concern over security, but it is interesting that the pro-military trend started in the late 1990s.
More people feel we are not spending enough on education, health, and social security. So how is it that more people are also calling themselves conservative? Perhaps it has come to be associated with a tough-minded person as opposed to the unappealing image of the kooky liberal, or as a reader wrote, perhaps people equate "conservative" with "Republican," and nowadays being a Republican and being in favor of spending is not seen as incompatabile.
I have heard people say that the country is split into thirds: liberals, moderates, and conservatives. This is inaccurate:
One the one hand, 75% of the country says it is not liberal, and there are as many conservatives as moderates, but on the other hand, conservative seems increasingly to mean "liberal (pro-spending) but not crazy." Of course, no one says they want to be taxed more: exactly 1.5% say we don't get taxed enough.
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