Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%)
But as Gallup recently reported, “the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification edged up to its highest level since Gallup began regularly measuring ideology in the current format in 1992. The figures are based on combined data from 13 separate Gallup polls, including interviews with more than 18,000 Americans, conducted in 2013.When Gallup began asking about ideological identification in all its polls in 1992, an average 17% of Americans said they were liberal. That dipped to 16% in 1995 and 1996, but has gradually increased, exceeding 20% each year since 2005.
“The rise in liberal identification has been accompanied by a decline in moderate identification. At 34% in 2013, it is the lowest Gallup has measured, and down nine points since 1992. Moderates had been the largest ideological group throughout the 1990s, and competed with conservatives for the top spot during the 2000s. Since 2009, conservatives have consistently been the largest U.S. ideological group.
“The percentage of conservatives has always far exceeded the percentage of liberals, by as much as 22 points in 1996. With more Americans identifying as liberals in recent years, and conservative identification holding steady, the conservative advantage of 15 points ties the 2007 and 2008 gaps as the smallest. Continue reading “Conservatives losing ground as political identity”
Is compulsory voting in a democracy a contradiction in terms?
That is the question some Australians have been asking since voting became required by law here nearly a century ago, reports the BBC today.
“The right to vote is a freedom fiercely sought by people all over the world, but Australians do not have a choice. The continent is part of a small minority of just 23 countries with mandatory voting laws. Only 10 of those enforce them.
“Registering to vote and going to the polls are legal duties in Australia for citizens aged 18 and over, and failing to do so can result in a fine and potentially a day in court. Opponents of the system like Libertarian columnist Jason Kent say this stifles political freedom and threatens the basic principles of democracy.
“People have been sentenced to jail terms for not voting. It’s disgusting. It’s far from being democratic. We are not a democracy if we can’t vote democratically.” But Dr Peter Chen, who teaches politics at the University of Sydney, warns that this type of heated rhetoric blows things out of proportion. He says showing up to the polls every so often is not a huge burden.
“The system demonstrates a social expectation that at a minimum everyone needs to participate every few years and that’s a good thing.”
“Failing to vote in Australia may result in a fine or a day in court. Although small, the A$20 (about $18, £12) fine is enough to drive voters to the polls in substantially greater numbers than countries with voluntary vot Supporters of the system say Australia boasts some of the highest civic participation the word over, with a reported 94% voter turn-out in the last federal election, compared to about 65% in the UK’s 2010 general election and an estimated 57% in the 2012 US presidential election. Continue reading “Compulsory voting in Australia”
Fresh on the heels of repeated, reasonably high profile forays into insulting Obama voters, minority voters, Asian-Americans, Latino-Americans, and whoever they’ll figure out they hate next, it turns out there are a fair number of disabled people in this country. As reported in Bal’oon Juice,
”How many? According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2010, 56.7 million Americans from the civilian, non-institutionalized population had a disability—that’s 18.7% of the US population. Of those, 38.3 million, 12.6 percent, had a severe disability. Bringing it down to the sharp edge of what it takes to make it through the day, ‘About 12.3 million people aged 6 and older (4.4%) needed assistance with one or more activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). That’s a lot of folks, no matter what level of disability you choose to emphasize. They’ve all got families—and that’s a lot more people. They have friends too…and you get the point.”
Read more at: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/12/05/alienating-the-electorate-nineteen-million-americans-at-a-time/
In the Facebook universe the big news is that after signing up half of the world’s population, the company is going for even more subscribers. The smaller story is that Facebook is poised to eliminate democracy (i.e.,voting) among its users. As the LA times reports,
“ Facebook Inc. is finding out just how messy democracy can be. Continue reading “Facebook, democracy, and world domination”