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Fri Oct 4, 2013, 03:44 PM

Americans are more liberal than either Republican or Democratic pols realize


here's a non-pdf version - http://www.democracyjournal.org/arguments/2013/09/politicians-think-american-voters-are-more-conservative-than-they-really-are.php


When we compare what legislators believe their constituents want to their constituents’ actual views, we discover that politicians hold remarkably inaccurate perceptions. Pick an American state legislator at random, and chances are that he or she will have massive misperceptions about district views on big-ticket issues, typically missing the mark by 15 percentage points.

What is more, the mistakes legislators make tend to fall in one direction, giving U.S. politics a rightward tilt compared to what most voters say they want. As the following figures show, legislators usually believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. Our attitude measurements are most accurate on the questions about same sex marriage and universal health insurance – and in both instances the legislators’ guesses about their constituents’ views were 15-20 percent more conservative, on average, than the true public support for same-sex marriage or universal health care present in their districts.

Our study also found that politicians don’t learn in the normal course of events. After November 2012, we posed the same questions again to some candidates. Even after conducting campaigns and seeing the results, politicians did not arrive at more accurate perceptions of constituent views—not even those who had spent more time talking to voters. Much remains to be learned about why U.S. legislators think constituents are more conservative than they truly are, but researchers have found that politically active citizens tend to be wealthier and more conservative than others. Politicians who want to represent all the people in their districts need to keep this in mind.

Our findings also suggest that progressive groups might be able to use a simple lobbying strategy—just let legislators know the truth about what their constituents think and want! Most of the time, legislators will discover that their constituents are more liberal than they suppose. Would that lead to policy change? It is an open question, but some research suggests that public opinion can influence what politicians do. Perhaps helping representatives perceive their constituents correctly could pave the way for public policies closer to what Americans really want.

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Reply Americans are more liberal than either Republican or Democratic pols realize (Original post)
RainDog Oct 2013 OP
Myrina Oct 2013 #1
RainDog Oct 2013 #5
Myrina Oct 2013 #19
RainDog Oct 2013 #20
Doctor_J Oct 2013 #2
Ash_F Oct 2013 #7
Doctor_J Oct 2013 #8
RainDog Oct 2013 #9
Hydra Oct 2013 #11
RainDog Oct 2013 #12
Hydra Oct 2013 #13
Hydra Oct 2013 #10
tularetom Oct 2013 #3
Bill USA Oct 2013 #4
RainDog Oct 2013 #6
Bill USA Oct 2013 #16
RainDog Oct 2013 #18
bvar22 Oct 2013 #21
Laelth Oct 2013 #28
RainDog Oct 2013 #29
rug Oct 2013 #14
RainDog Oct 2013 #15
rug Oct 2013 #17
LineNew Reply ^
Wilms Oct 2013 #22
LineNew Reply .
blkmusclmachine Oct 2013 #23
Scuba Oct 2013 #24
RainDog Oct 2013 #25
DJ13 Oct 2013 #26
Laelth Oct 2013 #27

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 03:54 PM

1. Whoever did this study hasn't been to Indiana

Selfish, backward, spiteful Teahadist Central, here.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:16 PM

5. Indiana is a sad place

But Indianapolis, Bloomington, Muncie, Terre Haute, the area near Louisville, and Chicagoland all went for Obama.

This is the same dynamic that exists in the south - cities are liberal, rural areas are conservative and hold idiotic religious beliefs that reinforce their conservatism.

If you look at this electoral map, you can also see that there quite a few counties, tho, that had significant Democratic votes - just not enough to overcome the teahadists.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/states/indiana

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Response to RainDog (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 06:08 PM

19. Indy(city) & NW region are predominantly African American, Muncie/Btown & TH are college towns ....

all of which traditionally vote Dem ... not to mention Chicagoland was 'home team advantage' for POTUS.

I would say it's a safe bet 80-90% of this state's population are just-off-the-turnip-truck morans.
Sigh.

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Response to Myrina (Reply #19)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 06:23 PM

20. well, it was the birthplace of the John Birch society

and was a stronghold of the KKK in the first part of the 20th c. - so... it's a long, long way away from Eugene Debs' Indiana.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 03:55 PM

2. they realize it, they just don't care

they get their money from the .01% hyper-fascist cabal.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:27 PM

7. YEP /nt

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:34 PM

8. The background checks debate was a perfect example

Every single poll showed upwards of 80% of American s want the checks. Imho the congress is very fortunate that guillotines are no longer in fashion.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #8)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:52 PM

9. money talks

and, honestly, if more people simply got out and voted, and got rid of the extremists, things could be somewhat better.

it's a vicious circle - people don't think their govt. listens to them, so they don't bother to tell the govt. what they think.

this is about class and money - if you're working two or more jobs, who wants to make time for a politician who doesn't seem to hear you anyway.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:03 PM

11. The problem is, how do you vote good people in?

The system protects itself. Blanche Lincoln and Joe Lieberman races come to mind. Also, in the Red state I'm in, your vote is just a protest. I do it anyway, because I can, and because it allows me to help the process along of us getting over the idea that we can vote our way out of the mess we're in.

We can't.

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Response to Hydra (Reply #11)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:17 PM

12. it's the failure of the "representative" part of the equation

the article suggests contacting your reps.

the religious right has gotten traction by doing this - but they also participate at the precinct level in their political districts.

I wish I could offer some wise words, but I'm as disappointed as you are, too often, about the political process.

but, like you, I always vote - and I know my vote does make a difference at the local level, even if that's not often true at other levels of govt.

The best hope is the demographic change that already exists. Hopefully that will translate to the voting booth over time, even if it's not immediately apparent.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #12)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:32 PM

13. The only thing I've seen lately that works is apathy/disgust

"Syria! Rah Rah!...what's the matter with you people?!"
"We don't want to spend the money and we don't believe you."

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:59 PM

10. That was my first thought

The tilt is towards the money. If the money was on the Left, we'd be drowning in Blue.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:00 PM

3. That's no surprise with all the time they spend in the DC bubble

Listening to the worthless US news media constantly telling them this is a "center right" country, whatever the hell that means, makes a deep impression on their tiny brains.

Then consider the fact that even when they are in their district, they spend far more time meeting with wealthy donors than they do with Joe Average taxpayers.

No wonder they think we're all a bunch of brain dead drooling right wing loons.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:11 PM

4. what "large national survey" did they use to gauge voters opinions on various issues or public


policy? I couldn't find any indication of what survey they used.

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 04:20 PM

6. Here's the original article

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Response to RainDog (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:55 PM

16. Appendix A2: Evaluating PErformance of the MRP Model

A.2 Evaluating Performance of the MRP Model


Table A3. Our Polls vs. Other Polls

The table shows they used CBS, Kaiser, NYT, Washington Post and CNN surveys as a comparison.

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 06:04 PM

18. thanks for the info

I just scanned down to see where they talked about "their" surveys.

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 06:24 PM

21. Here is one from 2005!!! that might interest you:

Where is "The Center"?
Here is what the MAJORITY of Americans (Democrats AND Republicans) want from OUR government!

In recent polls (2005!) by the Pew Research Group, the Opinion Research Corporation, the Wall Street Journal, and CBS News, the American majority has made clear how it feels. Look at how the majority feels about some of the issues that you'd think would be gospel to a real Democratic Party:

1. 65 percent (of ALL Americans, Democrats AND Republicans) say the government should guarantee health insurance for everyone -- even if it means raising taxes.

2. 86 percent favor raising the minimum wage (including 79 percent of selfdescribed "social conservatives").

3. 60 percent favor repealing either all of Bush's tax cuts or at least those cuts that went to the rich.

4. 66 percent would reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

5. 77 percent believe the country should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment.

6. 87 percent think big oil corporations are gouging consumers, and 80 percent (including 76 percent of Republicans) would support a windfall profits tax on the oil giants if the revenues went for more research on alternative fuels.

7. 69 percent agree that corporate offshoring of jobs (Free Trade) is bad for the U.S. economy (78 percent of "disaffected" voters think this), and only 22% believe offshoring is good because "it keeps costs down."

http://alternet.org/story/29788/

8. 92% of ALL Americans support TRANSPARENT, VERIFIABLE elections!
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=203x446445






The Democratic Party is a BIG TENT, but there is NO ROOM for those
who advance the agenda of the RICH at the EXPENSE of LABOR and the POOR.


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Response to bvar22 (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 08:01 AM

28. +1. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 05:51 PM

29. thanks for that link! n/t

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:33 PM

14. Americans simply have more common decency and are not as stupid as they think.

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Response to rug (Reply #14)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:52 PM

15. reminds me of Dan Ariely's work

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/americans-want-to-live-in-a-much-more-equal-country-they-just-dont-realize-it/260639/

Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It)

-- this is the title of the article. I think a more accurate title would be that Americans want to live in a more equal society but politicians and media lie to Americans about how this happens. This is the "veil of ignorance" that right-wing rhetoric accomplishes.

We took a step back and examined social inequality based on the definition that the philosopher John Rawls gave in his book A Theory of Justice. In Rawls' terms, a society is just if a person understands all the conditions within that society and is willing to enter it in a random place (in terms of socio-economic status, gender, race, and so on). In terms of wealth, that means that people know everything about the wealth distribution and are willing to enter that society anywhere along the spectrum. They could be among the poorest or the richest, or anywhere in between. Rawls called this idea the "veil of ignorance" because the decision of whether to enter a particular society is disconnected from the particular knowledge that the individual has about the level of wealth that he or she will have after making the decision.

There are a few lessons that we can learn from this. The first is that we vastly underestimate the level of inequality that we have in America. Our society is far more uneven in terms of wealth than we believe it is. Second, we want much more equality than both what we have and what we think we have. Apparently, when asked in a way that avoids hot-button terms, misconceptions, and the level of wealth people currently possess, Americans are actually in agreement about wanting a more equal distribution of wealth. In fact, the vast majority of Americans prefer a distribution of wealth more equal than what exists in Sweden, which is often placed rhetorically at the extreme far left in terms of political ideology--embraced by liberals as an ideal society and disparaged by conservatives as an overreaching socialist nanny state.

A third lesson concerns the political gap between Democrats and Republicans: Given the extraordinarily polarized and derisive rhetoric flying back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, one would think there was an insurmountable gap between their positions. So how is it possible that we found so little difference between them in our study? One reason for this could be our inability to separate our ideology from our current state of wealth. Our interests tend to color our view both of how things are and how they should be. Another reason could be politicians, who, in order to rally people to their side, try to generate feelings of greater difference and opposition--and therefore conflict--than actually exist. From this perspective one could claim that politicians obfuscate similarities by using galvanizing but elusive terms like "small government," "tax relief," and "freedom."

Rawls' veil of ignorance deals with such superficial and irrelevant influences on what we think by prompting people to consider all possible socio-economic situations rather than just their own and the interests and ideologies that come along with that. The veil of ignorance accomplishes something similar to blind taste testing. Take wine, for instance. If a person knows the appellation and price, and realizes that French wine is usually preferable to Finnish, his or her perception and opinion of how good each wine tastes will be influenced by these preconceived notions. Similarly, when we express opinions about politics and life in general, we can't help but be influenced by our own varying degrees wealth and ignorance of others' lives. The veil of ignorance works to separate our core beliefs from the biases and prejudices we develop over time and through the subjective experience of being part of a certain class and demographic.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #15)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 05:59 PM

17. Thanks for the link.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 10:12 PM

22. ^

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2013, 11:12 PM

23. .

.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 08:11 AM

24. Space available ...












Thanks to DUer RC for this great graphic.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #24)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 11:50 PM

25. Gerrymandering may kill the republican party

well, at least a girl can dream...

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 12:36 AM

26. Liberal policies

dont lead to cushy jobs once out of office.

Thats why the politicians dont really care about representing the views of their constituents.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2013, 07:59 AM

27. k&r for the truth. n/t

-Laelth

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