Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Politics: California In Red, Blue and Purple

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has a new analysis of California voters which splits the electorate not along partisan lines but along liberal-conservatives lines. Since California's electoral system is being rocked by dual political earthquakes of the incorporation of a Top 2 Primary system (the top 2 finalists in the June 2012 primary election regardless of vote totals or party affiliations will face off on the November 2012 ballot) as well as the impact of legislative districts for Assembly, Senate and U.S. House drawn by a non-partisan citizen redistricting commission The impact of these two reforms will be huge and may necessitate a change in the typical Democrat-Republican analysis of elections. PPIC used five categories of voters (loyal liberal, moderately liberal, conservative liberal, moderate conservative, committed conservative) which they define as:

  • Loyal Liberal: Very liberal on both social and fiscal issues (18% of the state’s population);
  • Moderate Liberal: Moderately liberal on both social and fiscal issues (24%);
  • Conservative Liberal: Conservative on social issues and moderately liberal on fiscal issues (25%);
  • Moderate Conservative: Moderately liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues (17%);
  • Committed Conservative: Conservative on both social and fiscal issues (15%).

  • The graphic above demonstrates the geographic distribution of these kinds of voters. In the report, PPIC notes that every geographic section of the state has drifted ideologically towards Democratic positions except for the inland sections.

    The report ends with this these thoughts about 2012 and California's political future:

    California may tend to vote for Democratic presidential candidates , but many places around the state espouse views that fall to the right of the Democratic Party’s typical positions. In fact, only the Bay Area is home to extraordinarily large numbers of people who hold opinions associated with the Democratic Party.
    This could signal an opportunity for Republicans. Moderate Liberal and Conservative Liberal places contain half the state’s population and seem sympathetic to many conservative positions—yet they tend to support the Democratic Party. Still, altering this status quo could prove difficult. The small number of liberal Republicans in every part of the state implies that the party's electoral coalition is ideologically solid—but that may also make the party resistant to expansion efforts. Only time will tell.
    Regardless, California’s 2012 election promises to be exciting and unpredictable. Given the inherent tensions between ideology and partisanship in much of California, the political geography that emerges after the election could look very different from the current landscape.
    Very interesting stuff! I encourage you to read the entire thing, "California Political Geography," by Eric McGhee and Daniel Krimm.

    1 comment:

    Michael said...

    Nice article. its really a interesting stuff for the political activities going on different states of US. michelle obama campaign


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