Monday, July 7, 2008

A different way to look at polling data

Rasmussen (h/t Waldo) recently completed an exercise in dividing the electorate along social/fiscal political lines.

I was less concerned with who supported Barack Obama or John McCain that with this picture of the American voting public:

Voters who are

Fiscal conservatives who are also social conservatives equal 24% of the electorate.

Fiscal moderates who are also social moderates equal 20% of the electorate.

Fiscal moderates who are socially liberal equal 15% of the electorate.

Fiscal conservatives who are socially moderate equal 10% of the electorate.

Fiscal moderates who are socially conservatives equal 10% of the electorate.

Fiscal liberals who are also socially liberal equal 9% of the electorate.

Fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal [Libertarians] equal 4% of the electorate.


This raises the question of how Libertarians build an electoral majority.

The Bob Barr people are obviously courting the largest group of voters [fiscal/social conservatives].

Recent polling suggests that strategy is paying off--at least initially--with Barr hitting 6% in the polls.

My thought is that a preferable strategy would be to target fiscal moderates/social liberals [15%] and fiscal conservative/spcoa; moderates [10%]--together those groups roughly equal the fiscal/social conservatives, and--without knowing exactly the issues used to distinguish liberal, moderate, and conservative in Rasmussen's poll, I'm more comfortable with appealing to those two group. Put another way: I'm more concerned with the damage that social conservatives do than the damage that fiscal moderates might do.

There is, obviously, room for Libertarians to argue this one.

However, there's one critical point here: breaking down the electorate this way--without reference to political party identity--is a far more fruitful strategy that attempting to go after sub-categories of Democrats and Republicans.

Thoughts?

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