Minding the Gap
Using average presidential approval ratings, this infographic illustrates the growing ideological divide in American politics. As you can see, the partisan gap has grown significantly in the last half-century. What is the effect on our political process? Will it continue to grow?
This infographic was featured in Bill Schneider’s Feb. 2013 Inside Politics Newsletter.
Parties are becoming increasingly ideologically homogeneous, more and more Americans are identifying themselves as independents. An August 2012 Third Way study found that both Republican and Democratic registrations dropped from 2008 to 2012 in five of the eight battleground states that register voters by party, while independent registrations jumped in six of the eight.
In the states wher parties hold closed primaries, the voter pool is more ideologically driven, making it more likely a hard-core liberal or conservative will emerge from the primary, no matter how competitive the district is. That’s true in 24 states for Republicans; 19 for Democrats.
— National Journal on “Why Reforming the Primary Process Would Produce a More Productive Congress”
What is the ideology of “Independent” Voters?
“Obama Independents are slightly center-left on the ideological spectrum, but McCain Independents lean to the right. On a 5 point scale—where 1 is liberal, 3 is moderate, and 5 is conservative—Obama Independents are at 2.73 and McCain Independents at 3.73, a full point apart. With 60% of Obama Independents identifying as moderates, there are more moderates in this group than any other, including all voters (44%), Democrats (47%), and all Independents (56%). By contrast, 42% of McCain Independents call themselves conservative and barely half say they are moderate.”
Read more here by viewing the full report.