Who Supports Bigger Government?In 2012, researchers at the Edelman Public Relation firm asked a representative sample of 1,000 people in the United States this question: Do you think your government regulates business too much, not enough, or the right amount? For the country as a whole, 17 percent of respondents said right amount. Too much was selected by 31 percent. Not enough was the response of 37 percent. Responses show a fairly close link between support for government regulation of business and political affiliation. Among people who claimed to be Republicans, 55 percent said too much, reflecting this partys general position supporting smaller government. right amount was chosen by 15 percent, and not enough was the response of 19 percent. Among Democrats, 52 percent chose not enough, reflecting this partys support for government regulation of the economy. Even so, 19 percent chose right amount and 16 percent said too much. Among people who claimed to be Independents, 37 percent chose not enough, 32 percent said too much, and 19 percent claimed right amount. Independents fall in the middle of the road between people who identify with the two major parties. The firm also collected some international data. These results show that Europeans, whose governments already regulate the economy more than government in the United States does, express support for even more government control. In response to this survey question, adults in Germany gave these response patterns: 44 percent, not enough; 16 percent, right amount; 28 percent, too much. In Spain, the comparable data were 69 percent, 16 percent, and 9 percent. Political attitudes in Europe are more left-leaning than they are in the United States. Supplemental Lecture MaterialThe Political Spectrum: A Closer Look The conventional red and blue placement on the political spectrum is too crude to convey the diversity of political attitudes in the United States. As a result, political scientists have constructed a number of more sophisticated topologies. The following categories are based on surveys taken by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press, and updated by the author: Core Democratic Supporters60s Democrats: This well-educated, heavily female category has a strong belief in social justice. These left-leaning Democrats are highly tolerant of views and lifestyles they do not share. They favor larger government and support most forms of government social spending. The Occupy Wall Streeters: These are younger people who share most of the political attitudes of the 60s Democrats. New Dealers: Older, blue-collar, and religious. The roots of this aging category of traditional Democrats can be traced back to the New Deal. Although supportive of many social-spending issues, New Dealers are intolerant on social issues and somewhat hawkish on defense. God and Country Democrats: This group is older, poor, and disproportionately black with high numbers concentrated in the South. The God and Country Democrats have a strong faith in America and are highly religious. They favor social spending and are moderately intolerant on many social issues. Partisan Poor: Very low income, relatively high proportions of African Americans, and poorly educated. This traditionally loyal Democratic category has a strong faith in its partys ability to achieve social justice. The Partisan Poor firmly support all forms of social spending, yet they are conservative on some social issues. Democratic-Leaning CategoriesFollowers: Young, poorly educated, and disproportionately African American or Hispanic. This group shows little interest in politics and is very persuadable and unpredictable. They are not outspokenly critical of government or big business, but Followers are cynical about their own opportunities. Seculars: This category is uniquely characterized by its lack of religious belief. In addition, Seculars are strongly committed to personal freedom and are dovish on defense issues. Their level of participation in politics, however, is not as high as one might expect, given their education and political sophistication. Core Republican SupportersEnterprisers: Affluent, well-educated, and predominantly male. This classic Republican category is mainly characterized by its pro-business and anti-government attitudes. Enterprisers are moderate on questions of personal freedom but oppose increased spending on most social issues. Moralists: Middle-aged and middle income, this core Republican category includes many Christian Fundamentalists is militantly anti-Communist and conservative on personal freedom issues. Some Tea Party supporters are moralists. Libertarians: This category of voters is wary of government power, believing that our own government represents the greatest threat to personal liberty. The Tea Party includes many Libertarians. Republican-Leaning CategoriesUpbeats: Young and optimistic, the members of this group are firm believers in the United States and in the countrys government. Upbeats are moderate in their political attitudes. Disaffecteds: Alienated, pessimistic, and financially pressured, this category of voters leans toward the GOP camp, but it has had historical ties to the Democratic Party. Disaffecteds are skeptical of both big government and big business, but many are pro-military. Low-Income PeopleBystanders: The members of this category are young, predominantly white, with little education. They neither participate in politics nor show any interest in current affairs. They lean toward Republicanism. 2. Can you think of any categories of people whose views do not seem to be addressed in this discussion? Explain.
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