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Poll: U.S. political centrists have diverse backgrounds and views

Study says many who vote Democrat do not support social programs, while many who vote Republican support same-sex rights.
By Matt Bradwell   |   June 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Despite United States' seemingly stark cultural divide, a new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests most Americans lie somewhere in the political middle, and the middle is as diverse as the country.

"Taken together, this 'center' looks like it is halfway between the partisan wings," the report says.

"But when disaggregated, it becomes clear that there are many distinct voices in the center, often with as little in common with each other as with those who are on the left and the right."

Although lacking any racial, ethnic and cultural constant, the new U.S. center does have some key commonalities: Americans are unpredictable, less politically engaged and mutually frustrated with the state of politics.

Pew broke the poll's participants down into eight categories: steadfast conservatives, business conservatives, solid liberals, young outsiders, hard-pressed skeptics, next generation left, faith and family left, and bystanders.

The 2014 Political Typology: Polarized Wings, a Diverse Middle

Steadfast conservatives oppose government overreach and fall to the far right on social issues. Business conservatives are also proponents of smaller government, but have more favorable views of Wall Street, immigration reform and social progress. Steadfast liberals are exactly that, consistent supporters of liberal ideology and politics.

The remaining five groups do not fit so cleanly into American political archetypes. Young outsiders, for example, support limited government, except when it comes to environmental regulation. Additionally, they have liberal social views. On the flip side, the faith and family left supports social safety nets, but is uncomfortable with same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

Steadfast, Business Conservatives Differ over Immigration, Homosexuality

Strains in the Democratic Coalition over Morality, Homosexuality, Expanding the Social Safety Net

Voting Preferences of the Typology Groups

Pew's findings follow a recent poll showing the ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans has grown in the past 20 years.

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