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Old 03-09-2013, 01:57 PM
 
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Politicians, especially conservative ones, massively overestimate the conservatism of their constituents on the issues of gay marriage and universal health care, an academic paper published Sunday has found.
David E. Broockman of the University of California at Berkeley and Christopher Skovron of the University of Michigan surveyed nearly 2,000 state legislative candidates in the 2012 election and asked them what percentage of their constituents they thought supported same-sex marriage, a universal health care system and abolishing all welfare programs.

The result was a vast conservative misperception. Constituents, on average, supported gay marriage and universal health care by 10 percentage points more than their politicians had estimated. For conservative politicians, the spread was around 20 percentage points, meaning that conservative legislators tend to greatly overestimate how conservative their constituents actually are.
"For perspective, 20 percentage points is roughly the difference in partisanship between California and Alabama," the authors write. "Most politicians appear to believe they are representing constituents who are considerably different than their actual constituents."

The authors note that the conservative imbalance is particularly severe. "This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country," they write.
The authors note that their findings rebuke Nixonian notions of a "silent majority," or more recently, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's contention that "real America" supported her and Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz) 2008 ticket.

Moreover, the findings seem to have different implications for conservative and liberal politicians. Many conservative legislators, fearing primary challengers more than a general election against a Democrat, are perhaps more responsive to pressure to move further right, even while their constituents hold a different view.
For liberal politicians, they appear to have more freedom than they may have initially perceived to act on issues such as gay marriage and health care. But the perception that constituents' wishes are more limited means that a politician may think that 60 percent of constituents need to agree before moving forward with a policy, hence, the idea of a universal health care system is often seen as out-of-reach, though it may not be.


Politicians Massively Overestimate Conservatism Of Constituents: Study
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:10 AM
 
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Kind of an illegitimate survey in that they use "end all welfare now" as the conservative position rather than "reform welfare" and "implement a universal healthcare system that provides coverage to all people regardless of income" without specifying anything about the system. So you have no idea what the system might be that the person is thinking of when they say yes or no. I mean, I am adamantly opposed to Obamacare but I would say Yes to that question. If you ask, do you like Obamacare? No. But just, should everyone get medical care? Yes. I want a system, but not one that mandates coverage for people who don't want it, not one that mandates which specific procedures are covered, not one administered by a federal department. I want a voluntary system under state control that everyone has access to.

According to their survey I am 100% liberal and yet in reality I am 100% against Democrats. So while their poll may be accurate in the things it measures, I seriously question that the things it measures support their conclusions regarding Conservative vs Liberal. Their poll seems to me to be "are you a neocon?" not "are you a conservative?" They have biased their poll towards being counted as a liberal even if you really are a conservative by only counting extreme social types as conservatives. The #1 issue today is the economy and they don't ask any questions about deficits? Seriously?

It kind of reminds me of the "1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted" stat that is so accepted as common knowledge. I read an article about how a professor Christina Hoff Summers got the data on the survey that produced that statistic. The question the survey asked was not "have you been sexually assaulted?" it was "have you ever had sex and then regretted it later?" If you answered yes to that, then you're a sexual assault statistic. This survey is similar to that. If I don't want all welfare stopped immediately, then I'm a liberal? Come on.
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