Daily Data Point: Both Congress and the Public Are Ideologically Sorted Into Parties by David Byler
If your senator or congressman is a Republican, there’s a high chance he or she is on the right ideologically — and if he or she is a Democrat, they probably at least lean to the left. Most political observers understand this and no longer expect to see many conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans head to Washington, D.C.
But not everyone knows that a similar trend has (not coincidentally) been taking place in the electorate. Over the last 40 years, the General Social Survey has shown that liberals have become increasingly likely to self-identify as Democrats and less likely to think of themselves as Republicans.
The reverse trend shows up in the data on conservatives. Conservatives are now very likely to identify as Republican and less likely to see themselves as Democrats.
This has a wide range of effects on politics and governance (too many to detail here). But when you turn on the TV and see ideologically polarized parties fighting it out in Congress, it’s worth remembering that similar divisions prevail across the country.
Generic Congressional Vote According to a FOX News poll:
47% of Americans would vote for a Democrat in the next House of Representatives election, while