The Changing Political Coalitions of 21st Century America

Publish Date: 
6/30/10
Morley Winograd, Michael D. Hais

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View the presentation (pdf)


The survey is the second of three national polls commissioned by NDN's 21st Century America Project.  This project has been established to help policy-makers, elected officials and the public better understand the major demographic changes taking place in America today.  This new poll has been specifically designed to provide more insight into how the political coalitions of the two major political parties in America are adapting to these rapid changes.   

The poll finds that 21st Century America looks, acts and thinks differently than the country did in the last century and that only one political party is be building a coalition that reflects the demographic and attitudinal direction in which the nation is headed.  Specifically, the survey finds major differences between Democratic and Republican identifiers on the major issues currently confronting America. 

While most Americans continue to favor activist government focused on promoting economic equality, those components of the electorate that identify most strongly with the Democratic Party are much more likely to want to see that approach reflected in legislation on such issues as health care, education, and off shore drilling. In addition, while both party's coalitions want action on the economy and financial reform, only major groups within the GOP coalition are strongly concerned with reducing government spending and the federal debt.   These deeply felt differences are likely to be reflected in the 2010 midterm elections campaigns and on Capitol Hill in the years ahead.

Democrats retain a clear lead in both party identification and the congressional generic ballot that is virtually unchanged from the lead they held in the project's first survey conducted in February 2010.  The core groups of the Democratic Party's new coalition - Millennials, African-Americans, Hispanics - remain solidly Democratic in both their partisan identifications and vote intentions, but the current lack of political intensity among these Democratic groups give Republicans an opening to make gains in 2010.

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