After an absence of several years, the new Pew Research Center political typology poll was just released. It breaks the American political electorate into eight groups. And, it makes clear what the Democratic challenge is in November midterm election..
The Pew political typology has two dimensions. One is the likelihood of voting. Pew factors voters into three categories: "General Public," "Registered Voter," and "Politically Engaged." I'll assume the "Politically Engaged" are those likely to vote in the November midterm election and focus on those percentages.
The second Pew dimension is the degree of partisanship. Pew sees three clusters. The first is "The Partisan Anchors," the Republican and Democratic base: "Steadfast Conservatives" (19 percent), "Business Conservatives" (17 percent), and "Solid Liberals" (21 percent). Steadfast Conservatives are "staunch critics of government and the social safety net and are very socially conservative." Typically they are described as Tea Party Republicans. Business Conservatives "share Steadfast Conservatives' preference for limited government, but differ in their support for Wall Street and business, as well as immigration reform." In most cases, they would vote for the Republican candidate, but if he or she is a Tea Party member Business Conservatives might vote for a centrist Democrat. Thus, in 2016, if Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the Republican candidate and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, some Business Conservatives will vote for Hillary.
(With regards to global climate change, Steadfast Conservatives don't believe it is happening. Business Conservatives have a more nuanced view. They reject it or the logical consequences because it is bad for business. They're not ignorant; they're greedy.)
The second Pew cluster is "Less partisan, less predictable" and has four groups: "Young Outsiders" (11 percent), "Hard-Pressed Skeptics" (9 percent), "Next Generation Left" (11 percent), and "Faith and Family Left" (12 percent). Young Outsiders "lean Republican but do not have a strong allegiance to the Republican Party." Hard-Pressed Skeptics
Have been battered by the struggling economy, and their difficult financial circumstances have left them resentful of both government and business. Despite their criticism of government performance, they back more generous government support for the poor and needy. Most Hard-Pressed Skeptics say they voted for Obama in 2012, though fewer than half approve of his job performance today.
Next Generation Left "are young, relatively affluent and very liberal on social issues... But they have reservations about the cost of social programs." Faith and Family Left "lean Democratic" But this very religious, racially and ethnically diverse group is uncomfortable with the pace of societal change""
The third Pew cluster is "Bystanders," 10 percent of the population that is not registered to vote.
The Pew typology makes clear the problem for Republicans. Wherever there is a Tea-Party candidate, the Steadfast Conservatives will turn out to vote, but the Business Conservatives and Young Outsiders may either stay at home or vote for the Democratic candidate if they are not perceived as liberal. (Thus, in the Colorado Senate race, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall tries to paint his opponent, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, as ultra conservative -- Gardner does not believe in global climate change. Gardner decries Udall as a liberal with close ties to President Obama.)