Polls continue to show that liberalism is on a massive decline, which happens every other generation. Last time it happened was in the late 1970s, which proved disastrous for Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis. After another generation, the kids got a little more tolerant of liberalism, and you were awarded Clinton, Dole, and Pelosi.Interestingly, we have something much better than polls that tracks this:
Author’s analysis of the GSS. Sample limited to non-Latino whites ages 30–49 in the survey year.And so we see that "Gentry Liberals" are becoming much much more liberal while essentially every other economic group (of whites, it must be said) is becoming much more conservative. And this explains a lot about why the GOP isn't benefiting from the dissatisfaction with the Democrats: they don't offer much to these other groups.
The General Social Survey, a mother lode of information for social scientists that has been collected annually or biannually since 1972, has asked people in every survey to say whether they are extremely conservative, conservative, slightly conservative, moderate, slightly liberal, liberal, or extremely liberal. A really simple question.
The graph represents the percentage of people who answered “extremely liberal” or “liberal” minus the percentage of people who answered “extremely conservative” or “conservative” in any given survey. I won’t go into the statistical details (for that, buy the book in a couple of years), but think of the classes this way:
Traditional Upper: Someone at the 95th percentile of income, with a graduate degree, who is a business executive, physician, engineer, etc.
Intellectual Upper: Also at the 95th percentile of income and with a graduate degree, but a lawyer, academic, scientist (hard or soft) outside academia, writer, in the news media, or a creator of entertainment programming (film and television).
Traditional Middle: Same occupations as the Traditional Uppers, but with just a bachelor’s degree and at the 75th percentile of income.
Technical Middle: Someone working in the many technical specialties that have proliferated in health, information technology, and industrial technology, with an associate’s degree and at the 50th percentile of income.
Working: Someone working in a skilled blue-collar job, with just a high school diploma and at the 25th percentile of income.
Lower: Someone working at a low-skill job who didn’t finish high school, at the 5th percentile of income.
With unemployment at levels not seen since the Great Depression, why is the GOP not surging in the polls and steamrollering the competition? Because the Chamber of Commerce is all for mass immigration which would further depress wages. You could list the other main policy areas, and very few would align with the bottom four economic quintile groups.
Of course the Democrats don't offer anything to these groups either, which explains the very widely held "a pox on both your houses" attitude.