Don’t stereotype Trump’s conservative base

By Kent R. Kroeger (April 5, 2019)

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Minnesota last summer. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Data Source: 2018 American National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics & Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger

Stereotyping is lazy analytics

Stereotypes are cognitive short-cuts that help simplify our lives. We engage in stereotyping because it often works across a wide of range of daily activities.

Yes, racism and sexism punctuated the 2016 election, but…

As the U.S. has become more educated and ethnically diverse, Republican voters have become more reflective of an earlier era in America, as they are now predominately white, Christian, and less likely — from even a decade ago — to be college graduates, according to a 2018 Pew Research study. Add in a growing partisan gender gap and it doesn’t take a PhD in demography or political science to realize this is voter base is problematic for the Republicans going forward.

At a rally in Minnesota last summer, Donald Trump invited his audience to offer its opinion on the “fake news” media. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Compassion and Acceptance Defines the Largest Conservative Bloc

Don’t let the sounds and images from Trump campaign rallies (or the rambling, ignominious rants of Trump himself) define the entire conservative base. The bloc of voters that most helped elect Trump cannot be summarized with stereotyping labels such as ‘racist,’ ‘sexist,’ ‘homophobic,’ or ‘anti-immigrant.’ I understand the temptation, but resist it.

Data Source: 2018 American National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics & Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
  • Lost Hope Conservatives are the least wealthy sub-segment
  • Old Guard Conservatives are the oldest and least Female sub-segment
Data Source: 2018 American National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics & Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 American National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics & Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger

Are Compassionate Conservatives the GOP’s “Breakaway Province” or their beacon to the future?

A Democratic-aligned pollster once described Reagan Democrats, a working-class, once reliable voting segment of the Democratic Party coalition, as the Democratic Party’s ‘breakaway province.’ The defection of this ‘province’ to the Republicans in 1980 ushered in Ronald Reagan’s charismatic leadership and a conservative ideology that would dominate the American political landscape until the 2008 financial crisis.

APPENDIX: A METHODOLOGICAL SIDEBAR

A Two-Stage Segmentation Based on Policy Attitudes and Identity Politics

This essay uses an two-stage attitudinal segmentation of U.S. eligible voters as its data source to identify the GOP’s conservative base (measured in Dec. 2018).

Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data source: 2018 American National Election Study (Pilot); Segmentation by Kent Kroeger (NuQum.com); Color shading is determined within the column (i.e., political sub-segment)

Demographics and Behaviors

Figure A.4 details the demographic and behavioral characteristics of the sub-segments. In this table, the color shading is determined by each row. For example, in the first row, Establishment Progressives have the highest incidence of females (60%) and the Old Guard Conservatives have the lowest (37%).

Additional Graphics

Figure A.5: Demographic and Behavioral Characteristics (Conservative and Progressive Sub-Segments)

Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger
Data Source: 2018 National Election Study (Pilot); Analytics and Segmentation by Kent R. Kroeger

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: kroeger98@yahoo.com)

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