Published November 10, 2021
Republicans looking to move on from Donald Trump see their party’s wins in Democratic-leaning states last week as a sign they can do so relatively easily. A new poll from the Pew Research Center, however, shows creating that new majority coalition will be harder than many in the party think, especially on economic issues.
The Pew poll breaks down the two parties’ voters into smaller, constituent factions. This type of survey, called a political typology, helps to show what unites and divides each party’s groups. This offers a nuanced, detailed view of each party’s opportunities and pitfalls, as well as the pressures party leaders face when trying to assemble and maintain durable political majorities.
The typology finds that GOP voters are divided into four primary groups. The first two are pretty familiar to most activists and pundits. Faith and Flag Conservatives, about a quarter of GOP voters, are the party’s conservative, religious bedrock. They are staunchly Christian, believe in small government and individual liberty and view America as the greatest of all nations. Committed Conservatives, about a sixth of the party, are the party’s pro-business wing. They are the most highly educated and well-to-do group. They agree with Faith and Flag Conservatives on a host of issues but tend to be more moderate on social issues and less driven by religious belief and issues. Most Republicans in Congress probably fall into one of these two groups.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.