Sunday, June 2, 2013

Voters Are Waking Up: Conservative Is Extremism has had a weekly series examining "...the psychology and sociology of opposite human behavior and personality types" for some time now, and their article, "Life's Extremes: Democrat vs. Republican," by Adam Hadhazy is the first of three essays we will examine today to try to understand the spectre of Conservatism in the United States.  It's followed by an essay, "Meanwhile, The GOP's Favorability Ratings Have Tanked To Their Lowest Point Ever," and "Gallup Poll And A New Study Both Confirm America Is Starting To Lean Left."

"The red meat is flying in the Republican presidential nomination battle, which sees its first caucus-goer and voter results early next month. Given the United States' starkly divided political climate, one might think it obvious that fundamental, built-in differences exist between Democrats and Republicans

"According to early poll results from psychology and neuroscience, you'd be right. Science has suggested that there are key features in the brains of liberals and conservatives — bywords, respectively, for Democrats and Republicans these days — that might help explain why people think and vote the way they do.

"There are converging lines of evidence for brain regions that make sense as biological correlates for political attitudes," said Darren Schreiber, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.

"Yet ideology stems from more than a slightly oversized or under-functioning brain region, researchers say...(although) One's upbringing and experiences matter a great deal in forming political identities, which after all can change over a lifetime, or even a single election season. [People Become More Liberal With Age]

"But some individuals do become quite fixed in their political opinions. Such partisanship might speak to an underlying biological bent to worldviews that events and experience cannot undo.

"'Generally people who tend to be moderate can go from one side to another, but I don't know of any extreme left-winger that became a right-winger,' said Marco Iacoboni, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral science at the University of California Los Angeles.

"Ideology, by the numbers

"In terms of the percentage of the United States' population that identifies itself as liberal, moderate or conservative, the numbers have held relatively steady over the last 20 years, according to Gallup.

"Liberals have remained in the vicinity of 20 percent, moderates, around 37 percent and conservatives a shade higher around 40 percent, since the early 1990s.

"At the extremes, those who identify themselves nowadays as hard-left Democrats stands at 9 percent compared with 21 percent who are hard-right Republicans.

"A blue or red brain?

"Researchers have long wondered if some people can't help but be an extreme left-winger or right-winger, based on innate biology. To an extent, studies of the brains of self-identified liberals and conservatives have yielded some consistent trends, Schreiber said.

"Two of these trends are that liberals tend to have more activity in parts of the brain known as the insula and anterior cingulate cortex. Among other functions, the two regions overlap to an extent by dealing with cognitive conflict, in the insula's case, while the anterior cingulate cortex helps in processing conflicting information. [10 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain]

"Conservatives, on the other hand, have demonstrated more activity in the amygdala, known as the brain's 'fear center.' 'If you see a snake or a picture of a snake, the amygdala will light up — it's a threat detector,' said Iacoboni.

"Political dynasties

"Indeed, genetic and environment studies have suggested that political attitudes are forged more through experience than some innate tendency.

"Research in different countries has dovetailed in showing that at most around 40 percent of political ideology is heritable, meaning mom and dad handed it down through their genes, said Schreiber.

"Politicos, since in utero

"'Evidence really suggests the reason why we have the brain we do as human beings is to solve this problem of politics,' Schreiber told LiveScience. 'As we have increasingly complex social organization, we need more and more brain mass to deal with its shifting coalitions.'

"These coalitions include the big political parties themselves. Voters' loyalty to the Dems or the GOP — or neither — is fickle and can change very fast.

"As of last month (November, 2011), 36, 35 and 27 percent of the population according to Gallup surveys called themselves Democrats, Independents or Republicans, respectively. Go back to August, however, and the numbers are 28, 44 and 26 percent.

"The ebbs and flows make sense, especially over long periods as political parties' positions and the popularity of their prominent members wax and wane. "Politics is constantly changing," said Schreiber.

"In other words, the art (and science) of politicking is far from mastered."

But is it changing?
"I used to be moderate; now I (am called) a liberal. I did not change; the political atmosphere changed around me...Republicans are extreme today; democrats are moderate in most cases." (Comment on the first article.)
As we've maintained since the beginning of this site, the differences between the left and right wings have always been the same. (  The only difference between "then" and "now" is that the inmates have taken control of the GOP asylum.

Two uplifting polls

If we accept the premises of the article, everything is coming up roses - from the Business Insider(!), an article,  "Meanwhile, The GOP's Favorability Ratings Have Tanked To Their Lowest Point Ever."

"The poll found that 59 percent of respondents view the GOP unfavorably, a record that has only shown up one other time in the poll's results since tracking began in 1992.

"The Republican Party's net favorability ratings are down 8 points in the past two months. The amount of respondents viewing the GOP favorably fell from 38 percent to 35 percent, while the number of people who view the party unfavorably climbed five points, up from 54 percent in March.

"The only other time the party's favorability ratings have been this low came in the aftermath of the summer 2011 fight over raising the nation's debt ceiling.

"The poll's findings — combined with President Barack Obama's continued popularity — suggest that Republicans remain susceptible to overreach on the issues of Benghazi and the IRS' targeting of conservative-sounding groups applying for tax exempt status.

"The same poll found that 54 percent of respondents said the GOP was "reacting appropriately" to the IRS' targeting, compared with just 42 percent who said they were "overreacting." Majorities also believe, however, that what Obama has said about the scandal has been at least "mostly true," and that the IRS acted on its own in carrying out the targeting."

And from a report, "Gallup Poll And A New Study Both Confirm America Is Starting To Lean Left," another piece of good news for non-Conservatives:

"Good news for the left.

"Gallup just released a poll that reveals more and more Americans are shifting in ideological attitudes, and identifying themselves as ‘liberals’ in regard to social and economic issues. At the same time, fewer Americans are describing themselves as ‘conservatives.’

"Gallup reports:

The trend suggests that ideological attitudes in the country may be shifting. Social liberalism has grown by six points since 2001 and now attracts half of rank-and-file Democrats and Democratic leaners.”

"This new survey shows changes in Americans’ ideology: economic conservatism is at a five-year low, while social liberalism has registered its highest support

"They go on to state the following:

the percentage of Americans describing their social views as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal’ has achieved a new peak of 30% — in line with Gallup’s recent finding that Americans are more accepting on a number of moral issues. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they are conservative or very conservative on social issues and 32% self-identify as socially moderate.

"Another recent study was presented at Vanderbilt University:
"What Politicians Believe About Their Constituents: (Asymmetric Misperceptions and Prospects for Constituency Control)
"The study shows conservative politicians believe their ‘followers’ are more conservative than they actually are.

“There is a striking conservative bias in politicians’ perceptions, particularly among conservatives: conservative politicians systematically believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are by more than 20 percentage points on average, and liberal politicians also typically overestimate their constituents’ conservatism by several percentage points. (Note the "several percentage points" by liberal politicians. -- Joyce, Jnr.)

"On the same topic of Conservatives loosing ground, another Gallop poll taken in February, reveals 9 out of 10 Republicans are white.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 89% of Republican self-identifiers nationwide in 2012, while accounting for 70% of independents and 60% of Democrats,” Gallup reports. “On the other hand, relatively few Hispanics and blacks identified as Republicans, while both of these groups represented a significantly higher percentage of independents and Democrats nationwide.”
"Gallup adds:
“'The ability of the Republican Party to make inroads among nonwhites has been much discussed in recent months, particularly the GOP’s efforts to improve on the 13% allegiance that Gallup data show it obtains from Hispanics.'
"So where does this all leave us? It leaves us looking damn good for the 2014 mid-term elections, it does. If Democrats don’t do anything silly, and GOP continues to dig its grave by introducing bills against the reproductive rights of women, opposing healthcare, even the simplest gun safety, and the environment, we should have a clear shot. You’d think Republicans would have learned after 2012 elections. I’m glad they didn’t — and hope they stay ignorant. Many liberals are ready for a Democratic majority in Congress, so we can get the job(s) done."

The interesting thing about the foregoing is that the GOP is looking at abandoning the Big Tent strategy in favor of voter registration drives that find the millions of white voters who don't vote, and good luck with the last article says, "You'd think Republicans would have learned after (the) 2012 elections."

As the public wakes up to the fact that Conservatism is a vast, right-wing criminal conspiracy, that Conservatism is extremism, the closer we are to criminalizing Conservatism!


"Stupidity talks, vanity acts."

Victor Hugo


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