Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Ideological Distribution of American Voters: Centrists, Conservatives, Libertarians, Liberals, Populists: Can the Center Hold?

Just how strong is the American political center?

Thomas Edsall at the New York times writes that
The Center Cannot Hold.

Is that true?
Is the study that he reports analytically correct?
We think not.

Edsall reports on a publication titled "Why American Political Parties Can't Get Beyond the Left-Right Divide" by Edward Carmines of Indiana University, Michael Ensley of Kent State University and Michael Wagner of the University of Wisconsin.

As follows, Edsall shares the image of the distribution of American voters, 2012 American National Election Studies, showing the Ideological Distribution of the 2012 American Electorate in terms of Economic and Social views (horizontal and vertical labels) into five groups rather than two: Conservatives, Libertarians, Liberals, Populists and the resulting centric Centrists (image linked from the New York Times):


The argument is that the center is too small to hold the four groups together. Wait a minute!

We suppose that it all depends on how large you draw that middle circle and where you place the center!

We are political centrists, but not moderates, as suggested about centrists in Edsall's article, and one thing we can get quite immoderately upset about is the tweaking of facts to suit some political purpose, regardless of which party.

We have drawn a new (larger) circle which shows that there is in fact a MASSIVE center, albeit somewhat larger than that in the original graph.


Moreover, as shown above, a larger drawn center shows in our opinion that the midpoint of that center is located more to the left than the original graph suggests. This accounts for the fact that the "Centrists" in the middle of the original graph show a tapering off to the right rather than being circular as at the left, i.e. the central midpoint is falsely located in the original graph.

Lastly, there is no reason for these four groups to be distributed circularly in terms of distribution, and in fact they are not, as a turned ellipse better fits the facts at the center, with the majority congregating as liberals and conservatives, and with populists and libertarians clearly narrowing, i.e. having fewer adherents, as their fringe group status would predict.


Accordingly, a candidate who is able to attract the voters in that larger center, and this can only be a true political centrist, can not be beaten in a national Presidential election. Artificially narrowing the size of that center is wrong.

Conclusion:

The idea that the center can not hold is simply false.
Centrists decide elections. That has not changed.
Just do not describe us as "moderates".
We are in fact quite immoderate to all forms of tyrants and political dogmas.
Rather, we are prudent, practical, realists.


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