Political Views Are Rapidly and Highly Mutable, Not Inviolate Constants

A recent Pew poll (pdf) describes the change in the support for the safety net in the U.S.:

pewsafetynet

What surprises me is the massive drop in support among Republicans since 2007. By polling standards, that’s a huge shift. I don’t think it can be explained by an ‘outmigration’ of sympathetic Republicans to either the Democratic Party or independent status: if that were the case, those groups’ numbers should have shifted upwards more (and according to the poll, since 2007, the percentage of Republicans hasn’t changed).

One of the many things that bugs me about the Democratic professional class is their devotion to polls, in the sense that they believe those numbers are inviolate and can’t be shifted. They are treated as the political equivalent of Planck’s constant.

But in this case, something happened to shift these numbers downward. I’m not sure what that would be (I’m not being snarky–I have no idea). But these data (and, yes, Kevin, it’s fucking plural) illustrate that attitudes can change pretty dramatically.

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3 Responses to Political Views Are Rapidly and Highly Mutable, Not Inviolate Constants

  1. human says:

    You are absolutely right about the Democratic professional class. I think it is more accurate to say that they that they believe those numbers can’t be shifted except by television advertising. This hampered us a lot in Wisconsin. It was as if it literally did not occur to them that people could go door to door and have substantive conversations about collective bargaining and why it is important. Instead they did the standard bug-the-shit-out-of-people ID-and-GOTV canvassing program.

  2. John of Indiana says:

    They should ask a follow-on question: “Do you believe the Needy are poor because they have angered God in some way and the Government should not interfere with His Will?”
    Bet the graphs would be close.

  3. Misaki says:

    >What surprises me is the massive drop in support among Republicans since 2007.

    conflict can also be seen as “the search for the optimum global strategy and the attempt to eliminate local factors from the decision-making process

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