Liberals Boiling, Conservatives Not, But...
October 30, 2008
There may actually be some good news in
the well respected Pew Research Center’s report that regarding the current
election, "liberal Democrats...[are] engaging in far more activism than
other partisan and ideological groups.”
However, I’ll let the good news wait for later.
For now, let’s look at the findings, which are both troubling and
confounding — unless you are a liberal, in which case you find them
joyous, without caring a whit about reasons.
With the most liberal candidate in history running on the Democratic
ticket, you’d think the percentage of liberals and conservatives who
have given "quite a lot” of thought to this election would be equal.
You might think it, but you’d be wrong. Yes, Democrats and Republicans
as a whole have equally given quite a lot of thought to the election
(82%). And the same is true for moderate/conservative Democrats and
moderate/liberal Republicans (78%).
However, while 91% of liberal Democrats have thought quite a lot about
this election, only 84% of conservative Republicans have.
Could it be that just as Barack Obama considers so many things no big
deal, a good number of conservative Republicans feel the same about the
election? Now, if true, that’s a punch not just to my gut but to my
Let’s see who is putting their money where their ideology is.
"Have Donated Money”
▪ 19% of all Democrats, 13% of all Republicans
▪ 11% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 14% of moderate/liberal
▪ 34% of liberal Democrats, 13% of conservative Republicans
How about putting their walking shoes where their ideology is?
"Have Attended a Campaign Event”
▪ 15% of all Democrats, 7% of all Republicans
▪ 12% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 6% of moderate/liberal
▪ 21% liberal Democrats, 8% of conservative Republicans
Let’s move on to the Internet.
▪ 30% of all Democrats, 23% of all Republicans
▪ 25% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 26% of moderate/liberal
▪ 43% of liberal Democrats, 22% of conservative Republicans
Well, conservative Republicans have been swamped thus far in Pew’s
But what about emotional investment in the election?
The Democratic candidate can be described as an enormously tax, more
enormously spend, redistribute wealth, friend of Palestinian
"moderates,” far-out-of-this-galaxy liberal.
Moreover, if elected, he will be heading up the charge of an all
Democratic House and Senate.
Therefore, conservative Republicans will surely be red hot bothered and
angry if Barack Obama wins. Right? Well, here is what Pew found.
"Feel Worried If Your Candidate Lost”
▪ Obama supporters (Democrats) 77%
▪ Obama supporters (liberal Democrats) 85%
▪ McCain supporters (Republicans) 70%
▪ McCain supporters (conservative Republicans) 71%
"Feel Depressed If Your Candidate Lost”
▪ Obama supporters (Democrats) 35%
▪ Obama supporters (liberal Democrats) 46%
▪ McCain supporters (Republicans) 18%
▪ McCain supporters (conservative Republicans) 18%
"Feel Angry If Your Candidate Lost”
▪ Obama supporters (Democrats) 40%
▪ Obama supporters (liberal Democrats) 56%
▪ McCain supporters (Republicans) 20%
▪ McCain supporters (conservative Republicans) 20%
Alas, even regarding emotional investment in this election my stomach
and emotions took a blow.
But not all is lost. Let me explain.
First of all, I shouldn’t have interpreted the findings about emotional
investment as a negative; for they reveal that all Republicans,
including conservative members of the GOP, are indeed, as Pew describes
them, "happy campers.”
It’s very difficult to define and measure happiness, but you can see for
yourself why Republicans are happier than Democrats as
Pew presents its research in Plain English and readable graphs.
If you are a Republican or in many ways think like one, you will feel
good, actually, very good, about what you read. Indeed, you’ll find it
the kind of news whose underlying details are worthy of discussion not
just at the water cooler but at the dinner table and religious round
Second of all, I have to believe that if Obama wins, conservative
Republicans will think about the description of him mentioned earlier,
add to it thoughts about an Obama Supreme Court, thoughts about Pelosi,
Reid, Frank, Dodd, et al., thoughts about MoveOn, et al., thoughts about
prominent liberal leaders and benefactors, and then join the cause to
oppose Obama’s policies with a fervor that more than matches any liberal
Finally, although Pew finds that conservative Republicans have not been
as "energized” about the election as liberal Democrats, there is this.
If they will stop to
think for just a minute and therefore turn out at the polls in enormous
numbers, bringing the whole gang with them, including grandma, grandpa,
and Great-Aunt Sally, conservative Republicans may well not have to
worry about any special cause after the election, happily remaining100%
solid members of the conservative cause while continuing, of course, to
be members of a group who are the nation’s happiest campers.