Friday, May 13, 2005

Centrists Prefer the GOP, But For How Long?

New data from the Pew Research Center reveals an interesting trend among Centrists. Over the last five years, they’ve moved heavily over to the GOP. (To find out your political leanings as determined by Pew, go here.) Of Centrists, the research says:
In the middle sit three groups: Upbeats, Disaffecteds, and Bystanders. The first are well-educated, generally informed, and politically moderate, and feel good about their personal finances and the direction of the country. The second group is cynical and less well-off. The third, mostly young adults, are largely on the sidelines.

During the 1990s, these three middle groups were not especially partisan, but they now lean decidedly toward the GOP. The Upbeats, who still do not formally identify themselves as Republican, voted for Bush 4 to 1 last November. Part of that is a result of Bush's personal appeal to this group, and so with Bush not on the ticket four years from now, Democrats are still hopeful they can lure some of these voters into their camp.

This confirms what I’ve been seeing from my vantage point as a Centrist blogger (and as someone whom Pew considers an Upbeat). While neither party caters to the center much, most prominent Centrists are in the Republican Party. Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, McCain, Voinovich, Specter, Chaffee, et al are much more active and forceful than their Democratic counterparts who, while moderate, do not seem nearly as energetic and are much less likely to go against their party for the greater good of the country.

I also think Centrists admire new ideas that are not predicated on outdated ways of thinking. Democrats still have an overriding obsession with perceived oppression and this inhibits their ability to address modern concerns with new ideas.

But, as one of the few Upbeats who voted for Kerry (grudgingly), I can attest to a great degree of Centrist dissatisfaction with the Republican agenda. In the same way that Democrats have become one-sided in their view that all problems are the result of oppression and require government intervention to fix, Republicans have all but embraced a one-sided view that all problems are the result of moral deficiency and require government intervention to fix.

Centrists aren’t big fans of big government. If the Republicans have indeed become just another big-government party, then the Democrats have a great opportunity to reinvent themselves and win back us Centrists. But if they have a will to do that, it’s not yet evident. The Democrats will probably need to suffer another defeat before they turn their ship around.

Thanks to The Smoking Room for the tip on this story.


At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Alex Walker said...

Quit calling Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a moderate!

Sinking in the polls and up to his neck in red ink, Arnold played the “race card” with a cynicism that would have done South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond and Alabama’s George Wallace proud.

This demagogue took a position -- to the right -- of President Bush on the so-called Minuteman “movement” (actually, a few hundred armed wackos plus the media). Yet, Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s writes in an article on the front page of Today's New Times:

“As moderate Senate Republicans look out around the country, they are comforted by the ranks of moderate governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger in California … ”

Excuse me? It’s bad enough being “moderate” has come to mean no more than being “not crazy,” but Arnold doesn’t even satisfy that low standard.

Back in the day, Thurmond and Wallace complained that Northerners liberals “looked down their noses” at Southerners. I am an African-American who grew up in the South and even I wonder sometimes if there is anything a big shot in New York or California can do to working people and poor people that offends our supposedly “liberal” coastal elites. Arnold has kicked down on nurses, teachers, firefighters, old people, kids, and the poor. That’s on top of being a crude, sexist bully. He gets away with it because he is hero to California’s “angry white men.” Yet, everybody persists in calling him “moderate” because everybody does it.

Please, please quit calling Schwarzenegger a moderate.

Alex Walker
Milpitas, California

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Sean said...

alex, guess what.
your view is the "wacko" view.
The "race card" for suggesting we patrol our borders? are you serious? Please, not gonna sell that to anybody but the extreme left. To compare that to Wallace and strom is dispicable equivalence. Absolutely dispicable, and just plain stupid.
Arnold is moderate. if he isnt what is he? liberal? right wing?
your ranst are why the extreme left is losing the battle of ideas. You use the race card, you use exaggerated comparisons to history. YOU ARE THE EXTREMIST.
Maybe its just me, but last time I checked, California is still running deficits! But to hell with that, Arnold should spend, spend , spend- right!
One day people in California wills top and ask- why does FL and TX not have an income tax, and still does not run deficits?? Hmmmm. Considering the poor and education in FL and Tx is not worse than CA, maybe its not how much you spend! idiots!


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