New Pew Poll: American Electorate’s Radical Shifts in Attitudes, Values

21 05 2009

New out this morning as the current president and past vice-president make their starkly contrasting terrorist torture speeches about what it REALLY means to be American:

In seven short years, the American electorate has radically changed, as voters’ priorities have shifted . . .according to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center.

Pew Graph by Party ID as Independents Rise

The title describes it well:
“Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era
Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2009”

It’s crammed with all sorts of data and trends to think about. Our attitudes on schools firing teachers for “morals” (homosexuality) happened to be the last thing mentioned in the commentary I just read:

On cultural — as opposed to economic — matters however, the country appears to be moving decisively towards greater social tolerance. . .

The percentage of people who say “school boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals” has fallen from 51 percent in 1987 to 28 percent this year. At the same time, the percentage who do not think school boards should be empowered to fire gay teachers has grown from 42 to 67 percent.

Obama’s speech transcript here. Video here.

Cheney’s speech both video and transcript here.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

19 responses

21 05 2009
COD

I thought this one was really interesting:

2007 – 68% of D’s think govt is too involved in their life
2009 – 42%

There is no way that you can make a rationale argument that the Federal Govt has less control of our lives today than in 2007. Even if you believe Obama will move the Fed Govt in that direction (and the early returns are not promising IMHO) he hasn’t really had time to do a damn thing. So this is all about perception, or as JJ might phrase it, The Power of Story 🙂 Obama’s story has shifted the poll 20% even though the facts haven’t changed are in fact probably worse than they were 24 months ago.

21 05 2009
JJ

Good point. . . if anything the facts are going in the other direction, of more government in social policy rather than less (I don’t see the control part but maybe that’s all in the perception, too.)

I suspect it’s like the morning my toddler pushed open the patio door and fell into our pool as I bustled down the hall with a basket of laundry grumbling about how I was ever gonna get everything tended to before my MIL arrived at the airport.

Suddenly I dropped the basket and became the basket case (ha, amusing myself with puns to avoid the full-frontal memory) as ALL my perceptions shifted radically, about what was grumble-worthy and what was a privilege, and what I desperately needed from other people and my whole community, the next-door neighbors I disliked and avoided (they needed to stay with my six-year-old so I could ride with the ambulance to the hospital) and even the pastor who had baptized the kids and I hadn’t seen since. I never did find out how HE found out and showed up but I was glad to see him just so someone could tell me I wasn’t as bad a mom as I was beating myself up for being —

So we were grumbling as we carried our baskets of money around, about how dare the government tax it and poor people try to get some of it, etc, how we could all make it on our own if people would just leave us alone. But the 2000s have done nothing but shock us into dropping all that, leaving the money basket in the floor, humbling us into seeing we’re not built as completely self-contained and self-sustaining units. Something like that.

21 05 2009
Crimson Wife

What teachers choose to do with consenting adults behind closed doors is their own business. A teacher should not be talking about his/her private life with students regardless of whether he/she is a heterosexual or a homosexual. Just shut up already and nobody’s going to fire you!

21 05 2009
JJ

Don’t ask, don’t tell and you get tenure? First time I’ve heard that! CW, you may get your own category in the Pew poll. . . 😉

21 05 2009
COD

That works great until some uptight bigoted parent sees the teacher holding hands with his or her same sex partner at a restaurant and goes running to the school to have the teacher fired.

21 05 2009
AMW Brandy Aminah

absolutly fasinating… i don’t get much time to watch American News over ehre in UAE (and it’s hard to catch it because of time zones) so this was news to me!

Loved the metaphor about the pool, dropping baskets comment, beautiful put.
Priorites people, there are some things very higher up we should focus on 😀

22 05 2009
terry@breathing grace

Thoughts on the fact that more Americans consider themselves pro-life for the first time in 20 years?

No agenda, really. Just wondering your thoughts.

22 05 2009
Nance Confer

I object!

Why is Cheney getting equal billing with the President?

Not just here but in all the news coverage.

He and his fear-mongering lost and now we have a new President and new policies. And a VP who isn’t actually running things.

Off to read the Pew page and then tutoring and then shopping and then DD’s final performance in “Death of a Salesman.” She plays “The Woman” — my baby is the slut in the play! 🙂

Nance

22 05 2009
JJ

Oh, Nance you must be so proud! 😉
Seriously, congrats to DD. That’s real serious theatre too. If there are any photos to post, hint, hint. . .

Terry, I’m glad you ask because actually I do have thoughts on that. Lately I’ve been thinking the meaning of “pro-life” must be changing and becoming more nuanced, less binary and absolute. In my view more American! (Life and liberty are declaration principles, so aren’t we all BOTH pro-life and pro-choice if we’re patriotic and pursuing happiness?)

As COD said, it’s Power of Story.

I’ve privately started to think of myself as pro-life for example. The debate over Bush v. Obama as Notre Dame speakers just crystallized this for me — opposing war, torture and state executions is pro-life. Period. And for me that’s in addition to being pro-choice and pro-family, not instead of. For Mother’s Day this year, I was fascinated to read about several initiatives to save women’s lives worldwide from the ravages and deaths related to what we used to call “pro-life” politics.

The other day I spent an afternoon running errands and driving kids around while in my head, I was playing moral musical chairs to experiment with that, see if I could articulate it as a policy view and communicate it with a universal label of some sort. (Still working on it.)

22 05 2009
JJ

For anyone who saw the season finale of “24” (spoiler alert) did you notice how much pain, death and social destruction sprang from misguided love and loyalty? Avenging wrongs with more wrongs. Power of story all right.

22 05 2009
JJ

More evolutionary truth! (hat tip to Edge which has lots of good new stuff reasoning through our emerging “Third Culture” of humanity — maybe that’s the phrase that respects our pro-lifeness and pro-choiceness at the same time?):

Message in What We Buy But Nobody’s Listening
“Evolution is good at getting us to avoid death, desperation and celibacy, but it’s not that good at getting us to feel happy,” [Dr. Miller] says, calling our desire to impress strangers a quirky evolutionary byproduct of a smaller social world.

“We evolved as social primates who hardly ever encountered strangers in prehistory,” Dr. Miller says. “So we instinctively treat all strangers as if they’re potential mates or friends or enemies. But your happiness and survival today don’t depend on your relationships with strangers. It doesn’t matter whether you get a nanosecond of deference from a shopkeeper or a stranger in an airport.” “

22 05 2009
COD

Speaking of 24 – it was quite interesting (and I’m sure very purposeful) that it was a Muslim that Jack called to counsel him on his deathbed. Of course, Jack can’t know that Kim is about to screw that up too 🙂

23 05 2009
Crimson Wife

There’s been a growing movement among abortion opponents in recent years towards a “consistent life” philosophy, which is against capital punishment, unjust wars, economic inequality, and environmental degradation. It started out as a Catholic thing but has spread to others in the pro-life community.

23 05 2009
JJ

Ah, consistent life and it’s not just me? Thanks CW, I will look for that in my reading.

Pro-choice public school people obviously need to get consistent about education choice rather than compulsion.

And it makes me wonder about pro-choice likewise becoming more consistent and spreading to previously “pro-life” people who nevertheless cherish and fiercely defend their own choices: self-determination, individual freedoms, privacy and parent rights to deviate from public policy, even in matters of life and death. People who haven’t consistently respected choice for others to date, not even for family members (their parents, their children) much less all their fellow citizens and people in foreign cultures around the world.

23 05 2009
JJ

It would fit on a bumper sticker:
Choose life, live choice. Consistently.

23 05 2009
Nance Confer

And goodness knows, any message must fit on a bumper sticker! 🙂

It makes more sense than the rest of the chest thumping though.

Nance

P.S. No pix of DD (not allowed by her or the theater 🙂 ). But she was absolutely wonderful. If I do say so. Really, it was quite a shock for all of us — especially her father and uncle — to see this grownup young woman vamping her way across the stage. My baby! 🙂 But then we left and it was back to no makeup and jeans. I exclaimed — we all exclaimed — that the transformation was so amazing. DD patiently explained that it was this thing called “acting.” Hmmmm. . . 😉

23 05 2009
JJ

That’s the truth. FavD was in stage makeup and costumes from age 9, for dance and then theatre, and we noticed the same thing. It became part of the show to her, not daily life.

She did permanently change her hair color a few years ago to transform herself into a red-head both onstage and off, but otherwise is bare-faced and remarkably unfussy, very practical about her looks. I always secretly thought this was a good-parenting trick we could bottle and sell — having the stage outlet neatly solves the problem of too-young girls clamoring to wear inappropriate make-up and attention-getting outfits in public. 😉

23 05 2009
Nance Confer

Well, DD is a very proper young lady IRL so the makeup and sex-kitten role had to really be coached. A good safe way to play at that role. 🙂

Nance

23 05 2009
JJ

CW, about “consistent life” on its new org homepage, I like this nut graph:

“What are we trying to achieve? A revolution in thinking and feeling, an affirmation of peace and nonviolence, an infinite gentleness, a value for the life, happiness and welfare of every person, and all the political and structural changes that will bring this about.”

I doubt it means the same “changes” to me as to most former anti-choice advocates but it’s got potential. . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: