Friday, March 23, 2007

New Pew Report Finds Political Landscape More Favorable to Democrats

The Pew research organization has put out its new report, and Democrats should be pleased with the findings.

Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway.

At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the Republican resurgence in the mid-1990s have moderated, according to Pew's longitudinal measures of the public's basic political, social and economic values. The proportion of Americans who support traditional social values has edged downward since 1994, while the proportion of Americans expressing strong personal religious commitment also has declined modestly.

After three or so generations of socialized old age, it's no wonder people have embraced it. And, more importantly for Democrats, more people are abdicating responsibility for their lives and demanding that government "do something" for them, even as such socialism is causing problems (or being rejected outright) in Europe.

Similarly, there's been at least 20 years of liberal education about shacking up, homosexuality, abortion and illegitimacy that it's no wonder so many younger people do not embrace traditional values. If you've watched television and movies, listened to music, and kept up with the celebrity culture over the last 30 years, it would be difficult not to have seen the "liberal footprint" everywhere.

There were other interesting results from the poll, as well.
--The public expresses highly favorable views of many leading corporations. Johnson & Johnson and Google have the most positive images of 23 corporations tested. At the bottom of the list: Halliburton, which is viewed favorably by fewer than half of those familiar enough with the company to give it a rating.

--Views of many corporations vary significantly among Democrats along class lines. Two-thirds of working-class Democrats have a favorable view of Wal-Mart compared with 45% of professional-class Democrats.

--Americans are worried more that businesses rather than government are snooping into their lives. About three-in-four (74%) say they are concerned that business corporations are collecting too much personal information while 58% express the same concern about the government.

--The public is losing confidence in itself. A dwindling majority (57%) say they have a good deal of confidence in the wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions. Similarly, the proportion who agrees that Americans "can always find a way to solve our problems" has dropped 16 points in the past five years.

--Americans feel increasingly estranged from their government. Barely a third (34%) agree with the statement, "most elected officials care what people like me think," nearly matching the 20-year low of 33% recorded in 1994 and a 10-point drop since 2002.

--Young people continue to hold a more favorable view of government than do other Americans. At the same time, young adults express the least interest in voting and other forms of political participation.

--Interpersonal racial attitudes continue to moderate. More than eight-in-ten (83%) agree that "it's all right for blacks and whites to date," up six percentage points since 2003 and 13 points from a Pew survey conducted 10 years ago.

--Republicans are increasingly divided over the cultural impact of immigrants. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) conservative Republicans say immigrants threaten American customs, compared with 43% of GOP moderates and liberals. Democrats have long been divided along ideological lines, but the GOP previously had not been.