January 30, 2018

Political Typology Reveals Deep Fissures on the Right and Left



Introduction

Overview

A year after Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican coalition is deeply divided on such major issues as immigration, America’s role in the world and the fundamental fairness of the U.S. economic system.

The 2017 political typology: Anchored by Core Conservatives, Solid Liberals

The Democratic coalition is largely united in staunch opposition to President Trump. Yet, while Trump’s election has triggered a wave of political activism within the party’s sizable liberal bloc, the liberals’ sky-high political energy is not nearly as evident among other segments in the Democratic base. And Democrats also are internally divided over U.S. global involvement, as well as some religious and social issues.

These are among the findings of Pew Research Center’s new political typology, which sorts Americans into cohesive groups based on their values, attitudes and party affiliation, and provides a unique perspective on the nation’s changing political landscape. Before reading further, take our quiz to see where you fit in the political typology.

The political typology reveals that even in a political landscape increasingly fractured by partisanship, the divisions within the Republican and Democratic coalitions may be as important a factor in American politics as the divisions between them.

In some cases these fissures are not new – they were evident in six previous Pew Research Center typology studies conducted over the past three decades, most recently in 2014. Yet, especially within the GOP, many of the divisions now center on the issues that have been front-and-center for Trump since he first launched his presidential campaign.

This study is based on surveys of more than 5,000 adults conducted over the summer. This was also the data source for our Oct. 6 report, “The Partisan Divide on Political Values Grows Even Wider.” These reports were made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the surveys from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Divisions on the Fight

Republican coalition divided by immigration, global economic engagement, acceptance of homosexuality

The political typology finds two distinctly different groups on the right – Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives, who both overwhelmingly approve of Trump, but disagree on much else – including immigration and whether it benefits the U.S. to be active internationally.

Core Conservatives, who are in many ways the most traditional group of Republicans, have an outsized influence on the GOP coalition; while they make up just 13% of the public – and about a third (31%) of all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – they constitute a much larger share (43%) of politically engaged Republicans.

This financially comfortable, male-dominated group overwhelmingly supports smaller government, lower corporate tax rates and believes in the fairness of the nation’s economic system. And a large majority of Core Conservatives (68%) express a positive view of U.S. involvement in the global economy “because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.”

Country First Conservatives, a much smaller segment of the GOP base, are older and less educated than other Republican-leaning typology groups. Unlike Core Conservatives, Country First Conservatives are unhappy with the nation’s course, highly critical of immigrants and deeply wary of U.S. global involvement.

Nearly two-thirds of Country First Conservatives (64%) – the highest share of any typology group, right or left – say that “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

A third Republican group, Market Skeptic Republicans, sharply diverges from the GOP’s traditional support for business and lower taxes. Only about a third of Market Skeptic Republicans (34%) say banks and other financial institutions have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, lowest among Republican-leaning typology groups.

Alone among the groups in the GOP coalition, a majority of Market Skeptic Republicans support raising tax rates on corporations and large businesses. An overwhelming share (94%) say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, which places the view of Market Skeptic Republicans on this issue much closer to Solid Liberals (99% mostly unfair) than Core Conservatives (21%).

In contrast to Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers are fundamentally optimistic about the state of the nation and its future. They are more likely than any other typology group to say the next generation of Americans will have it better than people today. Younger and somewhat less overwhelmingly white than the other GOP-leaning groups, New Era Enterprisers are strongly pro-business and generally think that immigrants strengthen, rather than burden, the country.

Divisions on the Left

Democrats differ on hard work and success, whether voting gives people a say in government

The four groups in the Democratic coalition differ on a number of issues: While they all strongly support the social safety net, the Democratic-leaning groups are divided on government regulation of business, and government performance more generally. And like the GOP coalition, they disagree on U.S. global involvement.

While there have long been racial, ethnic and income differences within the Democratic coalition, these gaps are especially striking today. Reflecting the changing demographic composition of the Democratic base, for the first time there are two majority-minority Democratic-leaning typology groups, along with two more affluent, mostly white groups.

Solid Liberals are the largest group in the Democratic coalition, and they make up close to half (48%) of politically engaged Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Largely white, financially comfortable and highly educated (most are college graduates and nearly a third have postgraduate degrees), Solid Liberals overwhelmingly express liberal attitudes on virtually every issue.

And their level of political activism in the months following Trump’s election sets Solid Liberals apart from all other groups in the political typology, left or right. Nearly half of Solid Liberals (49%) say they have contributed money to a political candidate or campaign in the past year; no more than a third in any other group (32% of Core Conservatives) say the same. And 39% of Solid Liberals report they have participated in a protest against Trump’s policies, which also is by far the highest share among the political typology groups.

For the most part, Opportunity Democrats agree with Solid Liberals on major issues. But Opportunity Democrats are less affluent, less politically engaged and less liberal – both in their attitudes on issues and in how they describe themselves politically. One area of difference between Opportunity Democrats and Solid Liberals is on corporate profits: 40% of Opportunity Democrats say most corporations make a “fair and reasonable amount of profit,” compared with 16% of Solid Liberals. And Opportunity Democrats stand out in their belief that most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard.

Disaffected Democrats have very positive feelings toward the Democratic Party and its leading figures. Their disaffection stems from their cynicism about politics, government and the way things are going in the country. This financially stressed, majority-minority group supports activist government and the social safety net, but most say government is “wasteful and inefficient.” A large majority of Disaffected Democrats say their side has been losing in politics, while fewer than half believe that voting gives them a say in how the government runs things.

A second majority-minority group, Devout and Diverse, faces even tougher financial hardships than Disaffected Democrats. Devout and Diverse also are the most politically mixed typology group (about a quarter lean Republican), as well as the least politically engaged. Like Disaffected Democrats, they are critical of government regulation of business. They also are the most religiously observant Democratic-leaning group, and the only one in which a majority (64%) says it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values.

In addition to the eight main groups in the political typology, a ninth group – the Bystanders – is missing in action politically. Almost no one in this relatively young, largely minority group is registered to vote and most pay little or no attention to politics and government.

Trump and the Political Typology

Strong approval for Trump in the two conservative groups; nearly all Solid Liberals strongly disapprove

While both parties are divided internally, partisanship remains a defining feature of American political life. Across the eight main typology groups, majorities either affiliate with or lean toward either the Republican or Democratic Party.

The power of partisanship is reflected in attitudes about Donald Trump. In the survey, conducted in June, Trump’s job ratings are more deeply polarized along partisan lines than those of any president in more than 60 years.

Overall, Trump gets his most positive ratings among the two most solidly Republican groups, Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives. Large majorities in each group strongly approve of Trump’s job performance (80% of Core Conservatives, 71% of Country First Conservatives).

By contrast, more than 70% in the three overwhelmingly Democratic groups (Solid Liberals, Opportunity Democrats and Disaffected Democrats) strongly disapprove.

However, even the Republican-leaning groups who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance are not all that positive about his conduct as president. Among the public overall, 58% say they don’t like Trump’s conduct, while just 16% like his conduct; 25% say they have mixed feelings.

There is no typology group in which a clear majority expresses positive views of Trump’s conduct. About half of Country First Conservatives (51%) like Trump’s conduct as president, while 39% have mixed feelings. And among Core Conservatives, who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance, only 41% like his conduct and 51% have mixed feelings.

The other GOP-leaning groups are divided in views of Trump’s conduct. About half of Market Skeptic Republicans (49%) say they have mixed feelings, while roughly equal shares say they like (24%) and don’t like (26%) his conduct. And among New Era Enterprisers, more express negative (39%) than positive (23%) views of Trump’s conduct, with 38% expressing mixed feelings.

Among Democratic-leaning groups, overwhelming majorities of Solid Liberals (98%), Opportunity Democrats (86%) and Disaffected Democrats (89%) say they don’t like Trump’s conduct in office. As with Trump’s job approval, Devout and Diverse offer less critical views of Trump’s conduct, though far more express negative (52%) than positive views (10%).

Political Engagement and a Look Ahead to 2018

Core conservatives make up largest share of politically engaged in GOP

The two largest groups in the political typology – Core Conservatives on the right and Solid Liberals on the left – make up an even larger share of their partisan coalitions when political engagement is factored in.

Core Conservatives are more likely than other GOP-leaning groups to say they follow politics and government most of the time and say they always vote. Consequently, while Core Conservatives make up about a third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents overall (31%), they constitute a larger proportion of politically engaged Republicans (43%).

Solid Liberals account for close to half of politically engaged Democrats

At the other end of the political typology, Solid Liberals constitute by far the largest proportion of politically engaged Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Solid Liberals make up a third of all Democrats and Democratic leaners – but close to half (48%) of politically engaged Democrats. That is about the same proportion as the other Democratic-leaning groups combined.

The next largest group, Disaffected Democrats, make up 23% of Democrats and about the same share of politically engaged Democrats (20%); similarly, Opportunity Democrats constitute 20% of all Democrats and an identical share of politically engaged Democrats. And Devout and Diverse, who express very low levels of interest in politics and government, make up a substantially smaller share of politically engaged Democrats (7%) than of all Democrats (11%).

The 2018 midterm elections are still more than a year away, but the two groups at either end of the political typology are already highly motivated by the battle for congressional control. More than eight-in-ten Solid Liberals (84%) say it matters a great deal to them which party wins control of Congress next year, the highest share of any typology group. Core Conservatives are next highest, at 77%.

Solid Liberals, Core Conservatives highly focused on controls of Congress in 2018

At this point, other groups are less engaged by the struggle for partisan control of Congress. And the drop-off is particularly notable among three groups close to the middle of the typology. On the right, fewer than half of Market Skeptic Republicans (44%) and New Era Enterprisers (41%) say it matters a great deal which party wins control of Congress; on the left, just 44% of Devout and Diverse say the same.

The Political Typology: 1987-2017

The political typology sorts Americans into cohesive, like-minded groups based on their values and beliefs, as well as their partisan affiliation. The current study, which comes 30 years after the first political typology, is based on surveys conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults and June 27-July 9 among 2,505 adults, with a follow-up survey conducted Aug. 15-21 among 1,893 respondents.

The typology is not intended to measure changes over time in the electorate, but some of the internal party differences that were evident 30 years ago still persist today. For example, Core Conservatives are far more likely than Country First Conservatives to favor societal acceptance of homosexuality. In 1987, two roughly parallel groups – Enterprise Republicans and Moral Republicans – differed over a disputed social policy at that time, whether or not school boards should have the right to fire homosexual teachers.

There also have been long-standing divisions among Democratic groups over religion and morality. Today’s Solid Liberals, who overwhelmingly say that belief in God is not necessary to be moral, bear some resemblance to the Seculars and ’60s Democrats from that earlier era. Today’s Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse – majority-minority groups who are much more likely than Solid Liberals to link belief in God with morality – are somewhat similar to the Partisan Poor and Passive Poor of three decades ago.

To be sure, there have been seismic changes in the nation and politics over the past three decades – and these are reflected in the political typology. The country has become far more racially and ethnically diverse. In 1987, both parties were overwhelmingly white and non-Hispanic; today, only the GOP is, while more than 40% of Democrats are nonwhite. Thirty years ago, one of the largest groups in the political typology were the New Dealers, an older, mostly white, mostly Democratic group who were relatively conservative on social issues but favored activist government. There is no equivalent group in today’s political typology.

There have been more recent changes as well, particularly in the GOP coalition. The two conservative Republican groups are divided over immigration, “openness” and America’s role in the world, as well as homosexuality. And for the first time, there is a Republican-leaning group that is deeply skeptical of business and the fundamental fairness of the nation’s economic system. On these issues, Market Skeptic Republicans have less in common with the other groups on the right than they do with the Democratic-leaning groups in the political typology.

Partisanship and Political Engagement

Overview

Pew Research Center’s political typology divides the public into eight politically oriented groups, along with a ninth group of politically disengaged Bystanders. Although the partisan divide on political values is now wider than at any point in the past two decades, significant divides in values are evident within both the Democratic and Republican coalitions. The political typology is designed to understand these intraparty schisms and illustrate how different sectors within each partisan coalition differ in their participation in politics and in other aspects of American life.

The current political typology is the seventh of its kind, following on previous studies in 19871994199920052011 and 2014. This year’s typology segments people based on a combination of 12 political values and beliefs as well as partisan orientation. Take the quiz to find where you fit in the political typology.

This year’s typology identifies four Republican-oriented groups and four Democratic-oriented groups. In both coalitions, the most deeply partisan and ideological groups, Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives, also are the most likely to vote, to pay attention to politics and to be invested in the outcome of the 2018 congressional elections.

In addition to being the most likely to say they always or nearly always vote, these highly partisan ideological groups also donate money, contact elected officials and discuss politics with others at the highest rates. Far more Solid Liberals say they engage in these activities than do members of other typology groups, including Core Conservatives.

By contrast, political engagement is lowest among some of the groups with the most mixed political values. Devout and Diverse, in particular, stand out for their general low level of attention to public affairs. New Era Enterprisers, Market Skeptic Republicans and Disaffected Democrats also express less interest, and vote at lower rates, than other groups.

Partisan Coalitions in the Typology

Among the four Republican-oriented groups, Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives stand out as the most partisan and ideological: Nearly all in both groups (97% and 95%, respectively) identify with or lean toward the GOP, and fully 45% in both groups consider themselves to be strong Republican identifiers. Wide majorities of both groups (81% of Core Conservatives and 70% of Country First Conservatives) identify themselves as politically conservative.

While both groups share a deeply critical view of government and a desire for smaller government and less regulation, they differ in other key political values. Core Conservatives are strong backers of business and believe that the economic system is fair; Country First Conservatives are more divided in these assessments. Conversely, while Country First Conservatives are very socially conservative and couple strongly negative views of immigrants with a skepticism about American involvement in the world, Core Conservatives are split internally over each of these values.

While the two other, less traditionally conservative groups in the GOP-oriented coalition – Market Skeptic Republicans (75% Republican/lean Republican) and New Era Enterprisers (66% Republican/lean Republican) – are also mostly Republican in their orientation, only about a quarter in each of these groups consider themselves strong Republicans.

Those in these less politically engaged and younger GOP-oriented groups also tend to hold more ideologically mixed values than Core and Country First Conservatives, though in markedly different ways. Market Skeptic Republicans express generally negative views of immigrants and a desire for the country to be less focused on foreign affairs, but they are otherwise somewhat less socially conservative than Country First Conservatives. Their economic attitudes – skepticism about the fairness of the economy and a generally negative view of banks and business –distinguish them from Core Conservatives.

By contrast, the other ideologically mixed group in the Republican coalition, New Era Enterprisers, are in many ways economically aligned with Core Conservatives, expressing some of the most positive views about the U.S. economic system of any typology group. But this group’s views on immigration, the environment, foreign policy and homosexuality are more in line with those of most Democratic groups.

Party affiliation of the 2017 typology groups

Solid Liberals anchor the Democratic coalition, as similar groups did in 2014 and 2011. Those in this group take liberal positions across nearly every domain – including government, the economy and business, race, gender and immigration. They also think the U.S. should be active in world affairs. Solid Liberals are highly engaged and intensely partisan: 99% affiliate with, or lean to, the Democratic Party, including 47% who describe themselves as strong Democrats. About seven-in-ten (71%) describe themselves as liberal; by comparison, no more than a third of those in any other typology group call themselves liberal.

Opportunity Democrats, who are 80% Democratic or Democratic-leaning, are in broad agreement with Solid Liberals on most political values. However, particularly on questions about economic opportunity, they hold less uniformly liberal stances than Solid Liberals and a plurality (46%) call themselves moderate.

Disaffected Democrats similarly are more likely to call themselves moderate (44%) than liberal (30%), even as 85% identify with or lean to the Democratic Party. Generally in alignment with Solid Liberals on most political values, this group diverges from them in their skepticism about government. In contrast to Opportunity Democrats, Disaffected Democrats are more critical in their views of the economic system broadly, including U.S. involvement in the global economic system.

The final group in the Democratic coalition, Devout and Diverse, is the most politically diverse group in the typology: 59% are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 26% are Republican or lean Republican. Most of those in this majority-minority group hold liberal values about the social safety net and racial issues. But Devout and Diverse part ways with other Democratic-oriented groups in their isolationist views of foreign policy and are far more mixed than these other groups in their views about immigrants, environmental regulation and homosexuality.

Political Engagement, Attention, and Efficacy

Among the public overall, 59% say they follow what’s going on in government and public affairs most of the time. The share rises to 82% among Solid Liberals and 80% among Core Conservatives. Roughly six-in-ten Country First Conservatives (60%) and Opportunity Democrats (63%) say they follow what’s going on in government most of the time.

Attention to politics and government lags among the other typology groups; no more than six-in-ten in any other group say they follow government most of the time. Devout and Diverse are least likely to say this (43%).

Views about the importance of the outcome of next year’s congressional election follow a similar pattern. Nearly all Solid Liberals (97%) say it matters at least a fair amount who wins control of Congress in the 2018 elections (including 84% who say it matters a great deal), while Core Conservatives also express high levels of investment in the outcome (93% say it matters at least a fair amount). Narrower majorities of all other groups say control of Congress matters at least a fair amount, and fewer than half of Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers and Devout and Diverse say partisan control of Congress matters a great deal to them.

Political engagement and interest highest among Solid Liberals, Core Conservatives

Although Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives are roughly equally likely to express broad interest in politics, Solid Liberals stand out for their political activism over the past year, particularly since the 2016 election. Fully 39% of Solid Liberals say they have attended a political event, rally or organized protest since the 2016 election, making them about twice as likely as any other typology group to have engaged in this kind of political activity.

Solid Liberals report high levels of political activity

This high level of political engagement since Donald Trump’s election is also reflected in Solid Liberals’ comparatively higher reporting of other political activities over the last year: 59% of Solid Liberals say they have contacted an elected official, 49% say they have contributed money to a candidate and 19% say they worked or volunteered for a political candidate over the past year. They are significantly more likely to report engaging in each of these activities than other political typology groups.

While Core Conservatives report these types of political behaviors at lower rates than Solid Liberals, they are more active than most other groups.

Aside from Solid Liberals, Core Conservatives are more likely to make financial contributions to campaigns (32%) than the other typology groups and also to report contacting elected officials at relatively high rates (38% say they have done so over the past year). The current activism gap between Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives is wider than the gap seen in the 2014 Political Typology between Solid Liberals and the two most politically engaged GOP-oriented groups at that time (Steadfast Conservatives and Business Conservatives).

As is the case with their overall measures of interest and engagement with politics, Devout and Diverse and Market Skeptic Republicans are among the least likely to engage these types of political activities.

Democratic-oriented groups most likely to say they are paying increased attention to politics

Among the public overall, roughly half (52%) say they are paying more attention to politics since Trump’s election, a third say they are paying the same amount of attention and 13% say they are paying less attention.

While about half of most typology groups say they are paying more attention than they used to, the share reporting increased attention is higher among three Democratic groups: Disaffected Democrats (57%), Opportunity Democrats (58%) – and particularly Solid Liberals, two-thirds (67%) of whom say they are paying more attention than in the past.

Disaffected Democrats stand out for skepticism that their vote matters

When it comes to views of voting, most of the public (63%) says that voting “gives people like me some say about how government runs things,” while 35% say “voting by people like me doesn’t really affect how government runs things.”

Though majorities of most groups say voting gives them a voice in how government runs,  Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals are the most likely to think this (79% and 75%, respectively), paralleling their relatively high levels of political engagement.

Though Disaffected Democrats’ political engagement is on par with other middle typology groups, this group stands out for its comparatively low sense of political efficacy: Just 43% say that voting gives them a voice in how government runs, while 54% say that voting by people like them doesn’t really affect the way government works.

Views of the Parties and Political Figures

Overview

The eight typology groups fall into four Republican-leaning groups and four Democratic-leaning groups. While each group has a partisan orientation, there are substantial intraparty divides in how these groups view the parties, the president and other political figures.

In the GOP coalition, Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers offer some criticism of the Republican Party and of Donald Trump, while Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives tend to offer more positive evaluations of both.

The divides are less pronounced among Democratic-leaning groups – particularly in their evaluations of Trump. Still, Devout and Diverse diverge from the other groups in the coalition by expressing less negative views of Trump and less positive views of the Democratic Party.

Within Partisan Coalitions, Some Differences in Views of the Parties

Many in Republican-leaning groups say the GOP is too willing to cut government programs

Core Conservatives express the most positive attitudes about the Republican Party of any typology group. Among the other GOP-oriented groups, Market Skeptic Republicans offer the least positive assessments of the party.

Overall, 90% of Core Conservatives say the Republican Party represents their values very or somewhat well, along with 75% of Country First Conservatives. A smaller majority (61%) of Market Skeptic Republicans say this.

Only about half (51%) of Market Skeptic Republicans say the GOP cares about the middle class, compared with no less than seven-in-ten of those in other Republican-oriented groups.

While only 12% of Core Conservatives say that the Republican Party is too willing to cut government programs even when they have proven effective, the share saying this rises among other groups in the GOP coalition: 36% of Country First Conservatives say this, along with 46% of New Era Enterprisers and 49% of Market Skeptic Republicans.

Half of Opportunity Democrats say Democratic Party too often sees govt as only way to solve problems

Among Democratic-leaning groups, Solid Liberals are the most likely to say their values are at least somewhat well represented by the Democratic Party (90%).

On the other hand, only about half (49%) of Devout and Diverse feel similarly. About seven-in-ten of both Opportunity Democrats and Disaffected Democrats (72% and 70%, respectively) feel that the Democratic Party represents their values at least somewhat well.

There are relatively modest differences between the Democratic-leaning groups on other assessments of the party; most of those in all Democratic-leaning groups say the Democratic Party cares about the middle class, and majorities say the Democratic Party has high ethical standards.

While the criticism that the GOP is too willing to cut government programs has little resonance among Core Conservatives, 39% of Solid Liberals say the Democratic Party “too often sees government as the only way to solve problems.”

Market Skeptic Republicans Stand Out for Their Criticisms of Both Parties

Many New Era Enterprisers say both parties car about the middle class

While Market Skeptic Republicans generally say the GOP represents their values at least somewhat well, they stand out for their criticism of both political parties when it comes to caring about the middle class.

Nearly a third of Market Skeptic Republicans (31%) say the Republican Party cares about the middle class and the Democratic Party does not, while just 10% say the reverse.

But this is the typology group most likely to fault both parties on this measure: 35% of Market Skeptic Republicans say that neither the Democratic Party nor the GOP cares about the middle class. A relatively large share of New Era Enterprisers (41%), by contrast, say both parties care about the middle class; just 11% say neither party cares for the middle class.

How the Typology Groups See Trump

In the two most conservative groups, fewer than half agree with Trump on 'all or nearly all' issues

Among Republican-oriented groups, more than eight-in-ten of those in the two most conservative groups say they tend to agree with Donald Trump on many or all issues, though fewer than half of Core Conservatives (44%) and Country First Conservatives (41%) agree with Trump on “all or nearly all issues.”

The other GOP-oriented groups are more divided. Among Market Skeptic Republicans, 56% say they agree with Trump on many or all issues, while 40% say they agree with him on a few or no issues. New Era Enterprisers are roughly evenly divided: 47% say they agree with Trump on many or all issues, while 53% say they agree with him on few or almost no issues.

Among Democratic-leaning groups, more than nine-in-ten Solid Liberals (98%), Opportunity Democrats (93%) and Disaffected Democrats (91%) say they agree with Trump on only a few or no issues. A smaller – though still clear – majority of Devout and Diverse (74%) also say this.

In general, just 16% of the public likes the way that Trump conducts himself as president, while an additional 25% say they have mixed feelings and 58% do not like his conduct.

Divides on the Right in assessments of the way Trump conducts himself

Trump receives his highest marks on this score from the two conservative groups: 51% of Country First Conservatives and 41% of Core Conservatives say they like Trump’s conduct, while only about a quarter in the other Republican-oriented groups say this. Among Market Skeptic Republicans, about half (49%) say they have mixed feelings about Trump’s conduct as president, while 26% say they dislike it. The share of New Era Enterprisers expressing dislike of Trump’s conduct is even higher (39%).

Dislike for Trump’s conduct is overwhelming in three of the four Democratic-leaning groups: Solid Liberals almost universally (98%) hold this opinion, and large majorities of Disaffected Democrats and Opportunity Democrats (89% and 86%, respectively) don’t like Trump’s conduct. While few Devout and Diverse like Trump’s conduct (10%), their assessments are somewhat less negative: 52% say they don’t like how he comports himself, while 34% say they have mixed feelings.

Among GOP-oriented groups, Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives also are significantly more likely to ascribe positive traits – and less likely to ascribe negative traits – to Trump than other typology groups.

Conservative typology groups most likely to associate Trump with positive traits

For example, though majorities of all four Republican groups say “intelligent” describes Donald Trump at least fairly well, about nine-in-ten Core Conservatives (95%) and Country First Conservatives (93%) say this, compared with 70% of New Era Enterprisers.

And while 86% of Core Conservatives and a similar share of Country First Conservatives (84%) say Trump is described very or fairly well as “honest,” that falls to a smaller majority (61%) among Market Skeptic Republicans and only about half (49%) for New Era Enterprisers.

New Era Enterprisers, Market Skeptics want Trump to listen more to Reps with government experience

A similar pattern is seen on negative traits. For example, about six-in-ten New Era Enterprisers (59%) and roughly half of Market Skeptic Republicans (51%) say “selfish” describes Trump at least fairly well, compared with only about a third of those in the two most conservative groups.

Overall, 58% of Republicans and Republican leaners say Trump should listen more to Republicans with governmental experience, while 34% say he should pay less attention to them. But these views differ across Republicans in GOP-oriented typology groups: Fully 77% of New Era Enterprisers say Trump should listen more to experienced Republicans, while just 40% of Core Conservatives say the same.

There is a similar – but more modest – pattern in views on whether Trump has changed the party for the better, worse or not much at all. About half of Core Conservatives (49%) say he has changed the party for the better, compared with a smaller share (37%) of New Era Enterprisers.

Favorability of Leading Political Figures

Among Core Conservatives, more have a favorable opinion of Mike Pence than Donald Trump

Donald Trump receives his most favorable ratings from Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives: Roughly nine-in-ten in both groups view him favorably. Smaller majorities of Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers (64% and 62%, respectively) give him positive ratings.

Overall, Vice President Mike Pence’s ratings among GOP-leaning groups roughly mirror Trump’s. However, Core Conservatives are more likely to be very favorable in their ratings of Pence than of Trump (50% rate Pence very favorably; 36% give Trump the same rating).

Across all four GOP-leaning typology groups, wide majorities express negative views of Hillary Clinton. And among the less conservative GOP groups, far more rate Clinton negatively than rate Trump positively. For example, while 64% of Market Skeptic Republicans have a favorable view of Trump, fully 84% have an unfavorable view of Clinton, including 65% who express a very unfavorable view for the former Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump viewed very unfavorably by large shares of Solid Liberals, Opportunity Democrats, Disaffected Dems

Barack Obama is also viewed unfavorably among most GOP groups, though views of the former president are less negative than views of Clinton. Among New Era Enterprisers, about as many have a favorable (51%) as unfavorable (45%) opinion of Obama.

Majorities across all Democratic-oriented groups express favorable views of both Obama and Clinton. However, across all groups, substantially larger shares view Obama positively than view Clinton positively.

Solid Liberals have almost unanimous (99%) unfavorable views of Trump, including fully 91% who express a very unfavorable view. Wide majorities of Opportunity Democrats (84%) and Disaffected Democrats (90%) also express negative views of Trump, including majorities who have very unfavorable views.

A narrower 63% majority of Devout and Diverse view Trump unfavorably.

Partisanship on a Personal Level

GOP-oriented groups generally less stressed by differences over Trump

About six-in-ten Americans overall (59%) say that talking about politics with people who have different views of Donald Trump than they do is “stressful and frustrating.” A smaller share (35%) says that these conversations are “interesting and informative.”

On average, Democratic-oriented groups are more likely than Republican-oriented groups to say that discussing politics with people who have different opinions about the current Republican president are stressful and frustrating, with Solid Liberals particularly likely to say this.

The only typology groups where opinion is relatively evenly split are New Era Enterprisers (46% interesting and informative, 44% stressful and frustrating) and Devout and Diverse (43% vs. 50%). Compared with other groups, these groups stand out for their relatively low levels of political engagement.

Few Solid Liberals, Country First Conservatives have friends from the other party

In general, people tend to have more friends who share their partisan orientation than friends who do not, and this dynamic is seen across typology groups.

Roughly nine-in-ten Core Conservatives (88%) – who are near universally Republican or lean Republican – say they have at least some close Republican friends, while only 42% say they have at least some Democratic friends. The imbalance is even more pronounced among Country First Conservatives (68% to 24%) and Solid Liberals (94% say they have at least some Democratic friends, 29% at least some Republican friends).

New Era Enterprisers and Market Skeptic Republicans are slightly more likely than Core Conservatives to have Democratic friends, though this partly reflects the partisan composition of these groups (11% of Market Skeptic Republicans and 21% of New Era Enterprisers are Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with negligible shares of the conservative groups).

More than half of Solid Liberals say knowing that a friend voted for Trump would 'strain' their friendship

Among the Democratic-oriented groups, Opportunity Democrats stand out as being more likely to have at least some Republican friends (51% say this). Though partisan composition accounts for some of this (15% of Opportunity Democrats identify with or lean Republican), even among Democratic Opportunity Democrats, 47% have at least some GOP friends – substantially more than in the other Democratic-oriented groups.

Most Americans say that their friendships would not be affected by who their friends supported in the 2016 general election. Overall, Democrats are more likely to view a friends’ vote for Trump as a strain than Republicans are to say a friends’ vote for Clinton would strain a friendship.

Solid Liberals are particularly likely to say that a friendship would be strained if someone voted for Trump: 55% say this, along with 32% of Disaffected Democrats and smaller shares of other Democratic-leaning groups.

About one-in-five (19%) of both Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives say a friend’s vote for Trump would strengthen their friendship, compared with smaller shares in other GOP-oriented groups. Roughly the same share of Solid Liberals (18%) say knowing a friend voted for Clinton would strengthen a friendship.

Views of Life in the Country Today, U.S. Global Standing

Overview

The typology groups express diverse views on how they see life in the country today, the roots of American success and their own place in society. Within both partisan coalitions, groups differ in their assessments of life today compared with 50 years ago. And there is no clear partisan pattern in views of life for the next generation of Americans, with many groups expressing at least some degree of skepticism.

However, there are strong partisan patterns in some views of the nation: Republican-oriented groups point to reliance on principles as the main source of American success, while Democratic groups cite the country’s ability to change. And when it comes to the country’s standing in the world, most Democratic groups say the U.S. is one of the world’s greatest countries, while half or more of Core and Country First Conservatives say it stands above all other nations.

While there’s much common ground in how typology groups define components of the American Dream, there are differences between groups over whether or not their family has achieved it – reflecting the different personal circumstances and outlooks of the groups.

Views of Life in the Country Today and in the Future

Among the public overall, assessments are mixed over whether people like them are better or worse off in America today compared with 50 years ago. About as many say life for people like them is better than it was 50 years ago (37%) as say it is worse (41%); 18% say it is about the same.

Evaluations of the trajectory of life in the country differ among both the Republican- and Democratic-oriented typology groups.

Divisions within both partisan coalitions over life in America today compared with 50 years ago

Core Conservatives and New Era Enterprisers are more likely to say life today is better than worse for people like them than it was 50 years ago (53% better vs. 33% worse and 51% vs. 28%, respectively). But other Republican groups take different views. Country First Conservatives – the group most likely to have a negative view of immigrants and openness to other countries – are much more likely to say life today is worse (54%) than better (27%) for people like them. Similarly, 50% of Market Skeptics – who express low levels of personal financial satisfaction – say life today is worse for people like them, compared with 32% who say it is better.

Disaffected Democrats overwhelmingly think life for next generation in U.S. will be worse than it is today

On the Democratic side, Solid Liberals and Opportunity Democrats are somewhat more likely to say that life in the country today is better than worse for people like them (45%-32% and 43%-33%, respectively). Disaffected Democrats and the Devout and Diverse, who report low levels of financial satisfaction and think government benefits do not go far enough to help the needy, have more pessimistic views. About half of each group say life is worse today for people like them compared with 50 years ago; about a quarter think life today is better.

Looking ahead to life for the next generation of Americans, the public has a generally negative outlook. About half (48%) say that life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today, while just 28% think it will be better; 20% expect life for the next generation to be about the same as life today.

This pessimism is prevalent across most typology groups, but Disaffected Democrats stand out for their particularly bleak views. Two-thirds (66%) think life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today, compared with just 19% who think it will be better. This negative outlook is one characteristic that sets Disaffected Democrats apart from other Democratic-oriented groups in the political typology.

At the other end of the spectrum, New Era Enterprisers are relatively optimistic about life in the future. Four-in-ten think life for the next generation will be better than life today, while 32% think it will be worse. A relatively bright overall outlook is part of what defines this typology group.

Democratic Groups See Their Side as Losing on Important Political Issues

Wide shares of Democratic groups feel they are losing in politics today

There is a widely held sense among Americans that things have not been going their way on the political issues they care about. Overall, 62% say they feel their side has been losing more often than winning on the issues that matter most to them; just 26% see themselves as winning more often than losing.

Wide majorities of the groups in the Democratic coalition feel they are losing on key political issues. Fully 86% of Solid Liberals and 83% of Disaffected Democrats say they are losing more often than winning, as do slightly smaller majorities of Opportunity Democrats (67%) and the Devout and Diverse (66%).

Views among Republican-oriented groups are somewhat more positive; still, a sense of winning on issues is not widely held. New Era Enterprisers are one of the more optimistic groups: 48% feel they’ve been winning more often on issues, compared with 38% who feel they’ve been losing more often. Views are evenly divided, or worse, among other Republican groups. About as many Core Conservatives feel they’ve been losing (44%) as winning (42%) on issues. More Market Skeptic Republicans and Country First Conservatives feel they’ve been losing than winning on important political issues (54%-29% and 48%-31%, respectively).

Opinions on U.S. Success and Standing in the World

Core Conservatives attribute U.S. success to reliance on principles

Overall, Americans say that the country has been successful more because of its ability to change (52%) than because of its reliance on long-standing principles (43%).

Core Conservatives overwhelmingly attribute the nation’s success to its reliance on long-standing principles (78%). By a narrower margin, more Country First Conservatives also point to reliance on principles (55%) rather than the ability to change (32%) as the bigger reason the country has been successful.

By contrast, clear majorities of Solid Liberals (77%) and Opportunity Democrats (70%) identify change as the bigger factor underlying the country’s success. A narrower majority of Disaffected Democrats (56%) also hold this view.

There are three groups – including one that leans Democratic and two that lean Republican – that are split on this question. Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers and Devout and Diverse are all about as likely to say they country has been successful because of its reliance on principles as its ability to change.

Few Solid Liberals think the U.S. stands above all other countries in the world

There are differences across the typology groups in opinions about U.S. standing in the world. And there is a particularly wide gap in views between Core and Country First Conservatives and the three most Democratic groups.

About three-in-ten Americans (29%) say the U.S. stands above all other countries in the world; 56% say the U.S. is one of the greatest countries, along with some others, while just 14% say there are other countries better than the U.S.

Among the two most Republican groups, about half or more say the U.S. stands alone as the greatest country. A 57% majority of Core Conservatives say the U.S. stands above all others, while 40% say it is one of several great countries. Among Country First Conservatives, 52% see the U.S. as exceptional (43% say it is one of the greatest countries, along with some others).

By contrast, just 7% of Solid Liberals, 15% of Opportunity Democrats and 19% of Disaffected Democrats say the U.S. stands above all other countries in the world. Majorities of each of these three groups say the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world, along with some others.

The Devout and Diverse are much more likely to say the U.S. is exceptional than the other Democratic-oriented groups: 42% say the U.S. stands above all other countries, compared with 47% who say it is among the greatest countries.

More Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers say the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world than say it stands above all others, a view that separates them from Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives.

Perceptions of the American Dream and Personal Achievement

Typology groups tend to hold similar definitions of the important aspects of the American Dream, but there are differences between groups when it comes to whether their families have achieved it.

Overall, the public thinks freedom of choice in how to live one’s life (77%) and a good family life (70%) are essential components of the American Dream. A somewhat smaller majority (60%) also says that the ability to retire comfortably is essential to how they think about the American Dream. About half or fewer say making valuable contributions to their community (48%), owning a home (43%) or having a successful career (43%) are essential. And just 11% think becoming wealthy is essential to their understanding of the American Dream. There are relatively modest differences between typology groups in these assessments.

There are bigger differences between typology groups in views of whether they have achieved – or are on their way to achieving – the American Dream.

Core Conservatives are the most likely to believe family has achieved the American Dream

Overall, 53% of Core Conservatives say their family has achieved the American Dream; another 37% say they are on their way to achieving it, and just 8% think it is out of reach. No more than about four-in-ten in any other group say their family has achieved the American Dream.

Disaffected Democrats are among the least likely to feel their family has achieved the American Dream: Just 23% say this. About as many say the American Dream is out of reach for their family (24%). Still, 51% say they think their family is on the way to achieving the American Dream. Views are similar among Devout and Diverse: Only 27% say their family has achieved the American Dream, while 49% think their family is on their way to achieving the American Dream and 21% say it is out of reach for their family.

Among all other typology groups, the shares who say their family has achieved the American Dream range between 35% and 42%. And between 80% and 90% say either that their family has achieved, or is on their way to achieving, the American Dream.

Government’s Role and Performance, Views of National Institutions, Expertise

Overview

Differences over size of government and whether it is 'wasteful and inefficient'

The political typology groups are deeply divided along partisan lines in opinions about the size of government. And while there also are partisan gaps in views of government performance, there are cleavages within the partisan coalitions.

In views of nongovernmental national institutions, Republican-leaning typology groups are divided over the impact of colleges and universities, while Democratic groups differ on the effect churches have on the country. And there are differences within both partisan coalitions in views of the impact of banks and financial institutions.

Views of Government

Overall, the public is divided over whether the government should be bigger and provide more services (48%), or should be smaller and offer fewer services (45%).

While Democratic-oriented groups are broadly in favor of bigger government, groups in the Republican coalition prefer a smaller government.

Large majorities in three GOP-leaning groups – Core Conservatives (89%), Country First Conservatives (71%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (69%) – also fault the government’s performance, saying the government is “almost always wasteful and inefficient.”

Most Solid Liberals (66%) and Opportunity Democrats (57%) take the opposing view – that government “often does a better job than it gets credit for.”

Yet a majority of Disaffected Democrats (63%), a financially hard-pressed group that overall expresses a preference for bigger government, say government is almost always wasteful and inefficient. Devout and Diverse, another Democratic-leaning group that favors bigger government, are divided over whether government is almost always wasteful (49%) or often gets too little credit (47%).

And while New Era Enterprisers side with other GOP-leaning groups in supporting smaller government, they are split over government’s performance (49% almost always wasteful, 47% often does a better job than given credit for).

Partisan Divides in Views of Institutions

GOP-leaning groups differ on the impact of colleges, Democratic-leaning groups are divided over churches

There are deep partisan differences in views of the impact of several national institutions. In some cases – notably, in opinions about the effect of colleges and universities – these differences have increased sharply over the past year.

Among the political typology groups, most Core Conservatives (80%) and Country First Conservatives (60%) say colleges have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country.

But other GOP-leaning groups – Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers – hold more mixed views of the impact of colleges, with 49% and 42%, respectively, viewing their impact negatively.

Majorities of all four Democratic-leaning groups say colleges have a positive impact on the country.

Views of the impact of the national news media for the most part break down along partisan lines, with Democratic-leaning groups expressing more positive opinions than GOP groups. However, Solid Liberals are the only typology group in which a majority (57%) says that the news media has a positive effect on the way things are going in the country.

In assessments of the effect of churches and other religious institutions, majorities of the Republican groups view their impact positively, while Democratic groups are more divided. In three of four Democratic groups, positive opinions outweigh negative ones, but more Solid Liberals say churches have a negative than positive impact (48% to 39%).

Both partisan coalitions are divided on impact of banks, financial institutions

Both partisan coalitions are divided in opinions about the effect of labor unions on the country. Nearly two-thirds of Core Conservatives (65%) say unions have a negative impact, the highest share of any typology group; other GOP groups are less negative. And Solid Liberals are much more likely than other Democratic-oriented groups to have positive views of labor unions (74%).

There also are sharp differences within each partisan coalition over the effect that banks and financial institutions have on the country. On the left, a substantial majority of Solid Liberals (69%) say banks have a negative effect on the country. But Opportunity Democrats are divided, with as about as many taking a positive view (42%) as a negative one (41%).

Market Skeptic Republicans, a group that faces financial stress and mostly believes the economic system is unfair to most Americans, stand out from the other Republican-oriented groups for their negative opinions of banks and other financial institutions. About half say banks have a negative effect on the country (52%).

Positive Views of Most Professions – with Some Exceptions

The public takes a positive view of many professions: Large majorities say farmers, members of the military, police officers and scientists contribute either a lot or some to the well-being of society. But there are striking differences in these attitudes across political typology groups.

While large majorities across the political typology say that scientists contribute “a lot” to the well-being of society, Country First Conservatives are a notable exception. Just 39% of Country First Conservatives, who are older and less educated on average than most other typology groups, say that scientists contribute a lot to the well-being of society.  Among other groups, 70% or more (including 94% of Solid Liberals) say scientists contribute a great deal.

Country First Conservatives stand out for their less positive views of scientists

Police officers are widely viewed as making positive contributions; about nine-in-ten in every typology group say they contribute at least some to the well-being of society. But Diverse and Devout and Disaffected Democrats, the most racially and ethnically diverse typology groups, are less likely than other groups to say police officers contribute a lot to society. (For more on this topic, see “Deep Racial, Partisan Divisions in Views of Police Officers.”)

Artists also are generally viewed positively, but just 18% of Core Conservatives and 14% of Country First Conservatives say they contribute a lot to society. Majorities of Opportunity Democrats (57%) and Solid Liberals say artists contribute a great deal to the well-being of society.

Business executives are viewed fairly similarly across political typology groups, with the exception of Core Conservatives. Core Conservatives are more likely than other typology groups to say business executives contribute a lot to society (40% say this).

The contributions of lawyers are generally seen more positively among Democratic groups than Republican groups. Solid Liberals (37%) and Opportunity Democrats (38%) are about twice as likely as Core Conservatives (20%) and Country First Conservatives (17%) to say lawyers contribute a lot to society.

Many Say Country’s Big Issues Don’t Have Clear Solutions

Democratic groups more likely to say most issues don't have 'clear solutions'

On the most important issues facing the country, a majority of Americans (56%) say there are not “clear solutions” to most big issues, while 41% say there are clear solutions to these issues.

Across all of the Democratic typology groups, more think the big issues facing the country do not have clear solutions than say they do.

By contrast, among Core Conservatives, 51% say there are clear solutions to most big issues, while 45% say there are not. Country First Conservatives are divided (47% say there are clear solutions, 45% say most issues don’t have clear solutions).

People with expertise generally viewed as better able to make good decisions

The public generally says that people with expertise on a subject do better than other people at making good decisions. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say people  with expertise are usually better than others at making good decisions; 33% say they are no better at making good decisions.

In general, better-educated typology groups tend to be more likely than those with less education to say that people with expertise make good decisions.

Majorities of Solid Liberals (83%) and Opportunity Democrats (72%) – the Democratic groups with the highest levels of educational attainment – say people with expertise are more likely than others to make good decisions. Fewer Disaffected Democrats (54%) and Devout and Diverse (50%) say the same.

Two-thirds of Core Conservatives (66%), the best-educated Republican group, say people with expertise are usually better at making good decisions. Among Core Conservatives and Market Skeptic Republicans, which have smaller shares of college graduates, fewer say this. But among New Era Enterprisers, who also are less likely than Core Conservatives to have completed college, 67% say people with expertise usually make good decisions.

Views of the Economy and the Social Safety Net

Overview

Views of the economy and social safety net reflect the distinct profiles of the typology groups. Opinions differ among those with similar partisan leanings while still following the traditional, wide divides between the left and right.

While most Americans and typology groups see economic inequality as a problem, Core Conservatives express relatively low levels of concern about this issue. And while most Republican-oriented groups think the economic system is generally fair to most Americans, a large majority of Market Skeptic Republicans say it unfairly favors powerful interests.

On the Democratic side, there is disagreement over whether hard work leads to success for most people. Solid Liberals are broadly skeptical, but a large share of Opportunity Democrats think most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard.

Views of the social safety net prompt traditional partisan responses. Republican-leaning groups say the government can’t afford to do much more to help the needy, while Democratic-leaning groups say the government should do more for the needy even if it means going deeper into debt.

And when it comes to two areas of current political debate, taxes and health care, the views of the typology groups are nuanced. There are wide differences between groups on the basis on partisan affiliation, but there also are gaps within the two broader party coalitions when it comes to the best way to address the two issues.

Evaluations of the U.S. Economic System

Among the public overall, there are widespread doubts about the fairness of the country’s economic system. About two-thirds (65%) say the economic system in this country unfairly favors powerful interests, while just 32% say the economic system is general fair to most Americans.

Democratic-oriented typology groups are especially likely to view the economic system as unfair. Fully 99% of Solid Liberals and Disaffected Democrats say the country’s economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. Two-thirds of Opportunity Democrats (67%) say this, as do a somewhat smaller majority (55%) of Devout and Diverse.

On the Republican side, 94% of Market Skeptic Republicans say the economic system unfairly favors the powerful. By contrast, most other Republican-oriented groups think the economic system in the country is generally fair to most people.

Majorities across groups - with the exception of Core Conservatives - say economic inequality in the U.S. is a big problem

When asked about the issue of economic inequality, most Americans (82%) say it is either a very big problem (48%) or a moderately big problem (34%) in the country today. Relatively few say it is a small problem or not a problem at all.

There is disagreement among Republican-leaning typology groups in concerns about economic inequality. Just 8% of Core Conservatives think economic inequality is a very big problem, while another 37% think it is a moderately big problem. Clear majorities of all other Republican-leaning groups say economic inequality is at least a moderately big problem, including 86% of Market Skeptic Republicans.

Broad majorities of Democratic-oriented groups say economic inequality is a moderately big or very big problem. All Solid Liberals say inequality is at least a moderately big problem, including 84% who say it is a very big problem. Among Disaffected Democrats, far more also view economic inequality as a very big (66%) than moderately big (30%) problem.

Views of Hard Work and Success

Democratic groups divided over whether hard work leads to success for most

Despite widespread sentiment that the economic system is unfair, most Americans continue to believe in the ability of people to get ahead through hard work. About six-in-ten (61%) say most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to work hard; fewer (36%) say that hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people.

On the left, Opportunity Democrats and Solid Liberals take very different views of whether success is possible through hard work. By 76% to 22%, Opportunity Democrats say that most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard. This viewpoint sets them apart from the other Democratic groups.

A wide majority of Solid Liberals (73%) think hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people. Devout and Diverse and Disaffected Democrats, both financially strapped groups, are roughly divided in their views on hard work and success.

Roughly nine-in-ten Core Conservatives (94%) and New Era Enterprisers (90%) think most people can get ahead if they’re willing to work hard. Smaller majorities of Market Skeptic Republicans (65%) and Country First Conservatives (57%) say the same.

Divided Views on the Social Safety Net

Opinions on government aid to needy Americans show clear partisan pattern

Views on the social safety net follow a liberal-conservative pattern across the typology groups, with a wide gulf between the views of Core Conservative and Solid Liberals.

Overall, 85% of Solid Liberals say the government “should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt.” Most Disaffected Democrats (72%), Opportunity Democrats (62%) and Devout and Diverse (62%) share this view.

Republican-oriented typology groups take the opposite view: 83% of Core Conservatives and 70% of Country First Conservatives say the government cannot afford to do much more to help the needy. Smaller majorities of Market Skeptic Republicans (58%) and New Era Enterprisers (59%) say the same.

Views on ‘Zero-Sum’ Economic Policies

Market Skeptics stand out in view that economic policies cannot benefit all

Although the public has concerns about economic fairness and issues such as inequality, a narrow majority believes that it’s possible to have economic policies that benefit all Americans. Overall, 56% say “it’s possible to have economic policies that benefit everyone in the country,” while fewer (41%) think “pretty much any economic policy will end up benefiting some people at the expense of others.”

Across most typology groups, greater shares believe there are economic policies that can benefit all than say any policy will benefit some at the expense of others. And there’s rare agreement between Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals on this question: About six-in-ten among both groups say there are economic policies that can benefit everyone in the country.

Market Skeptic Republicans stand out from all other groups in their views. A majority (58%) says that pretty much any economic policy will end up benefiting some at the expense of others, compared with 41% who say it’s possible to have policies that benefit all. Along with their opinions on business and other economic issues, Market Skeptic Republicans’ view that economic policies are inherently unfair distinguish them from other Republican-oriented groups.

Divisions Across Typology Groups in Views of Health Care

Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals are poles apart on the question of the government’s role in health care, but this hot-button political issue also surfaces differences among the Republican-oriented groups. And while majorities of all Democratic-oriented groups think the government should make sure all Americans have health coverage, there are differences over whether the country should institute a “single-payer” system.

An overwhelming share of Core Conservatives (88%) say it is not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. Most Country First Conservatives (72%) also take this position. A narrower 57% majority of Market Skeptic Republicans say it’s not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. However, among the Republican-leaning New Era Enterprisers, about as many say it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure Americans have health care (50%) as say it is (47%).

Large majority of Solid Liberals support 'single payer' approach to health care

Among the Democratic-oriented groups, about seven-in-ten or more say it is the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. But there are differences in views about the right approach for ensuring coverage.

Overall, 70% of Solid Liberals say it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage and that coverage should be provided through a single national health insurance system run by the government; fewer (24%) say government should ensure that all have health care, but that coverage should continue to be provided through a mix of private insurance companies and government programs.

By comparison, Opportunity Democrats are only somewhat more likely to support single payer over a mix of public and private programs (44% vs. 33%). Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse say it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care, but they are about evenly divided over the best approach for providing coverage.

Views on Tax Policy

Market Skeptic Republicans only GOP-oriented group to favor raising tax rates for corporations

A 43% plurality of the public says tax rates on household income over $250,000 should be raised. About a quarter (24%) say tax rates on this income should be lowered, while 29% say these rates on household income over $250,000 should be kept the same as they are now.

Views on taxes for large businesses and corporations are roughly similar to those on higher-income rates: 52% think tax rates on large businesses and corporations should be raised, while 24% think they should be lowered and 21% say they should stay the same.

Core Conservatives are more likely than all other groups to say there should be lower taxes on both on large businesses and corporations (67%) and household income over $250,000 (51%).

Market Skeptic Republicans, who widely say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, differ with the other right-leaning groups on tax policy. More say tax rates on high-earning households should be raised (40%) than say they should be kept the same (32%) or lowered (24%). And a 55% majority of Market Skeptic Republicans also says taxes on large businesses and corporations should be raised. Country First Conservatives and New Era Enterprisers are largely split in their views on tax rates for corporations and higher incomes, with fewer than 40% advocating any single approach to either question.

Large majorities of Solid Liberals think taxes should be raised on businesses and corporations (79%) as well as on household incomes over $250,000 (75%).

Among Devout and Diverse, Disaffected Democrats and Opportunity Democrats, greater shares say taxes should be raised than lowered on businesses and corporations as well as on household incomes over $250,000. However, slightly larger shares of all three groups support higher tax rates on large businesses and corporations than on household incomes over $250,000.

Most Prioritize Worker Training in Efforts to Improve Job Situation

Majorities see training for in-demand positions as better approach on jobs

Wide majorities say the better way to improve the job situation in this country is “working to train people in the skills needed for jobs that are in demand” (81%) rather than “working to bring back or save the kinds of jobs that match the skills people already have” (16%).

The typology groups are largely in agreement on the better approach to improve the job situation. For example, large shares of Solid Liberals (95%) and Core Conservatives (80%) say the better way is to work to train people for in-demand jobs.

Country First Conservatives are the least likely to say this, though a majority still do: 62% say the better option is to train for in-demand jobs, while 30% say it’s better to work to bring back jobs that match current skills in the workforce.

Race and Discrimination, Opinions about Immigrants and Islam

Overview

Public attitudes about both racial issues and immigration have changed in recent years. The share of Americans who say racial discrimination is the main reason that many blacks are unable to get ahead is now at its highest level dating back more than two decades. Still, somewhat more say blacks who are unable to get ahead are mainly responsible for their condition.

An increasing share of Americans say immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents, rather than burden the country by taking jobs and health care.

Most of the change in opinions on both sets of issues has come among Democrats, who increasingly take liberal positions on race and immigration. By contrast, Republicans’ views have changed little in recent years. As a result, partisan divides have widened considerably.

Sharp Differences over Race and Discrimination

Left-right divide on whether more needs to be done to give blacks equal rights

Overall, 61% of Americans say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, compared with 35% who say the country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with whites.

There are stark partisan and ideological divisions in these opinions. Core Conservatives stand out for their belief that the country has made the necessary changes to give blacks equal rights (81%). Majorities of Country First Conservatives (66%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (61%) share this view.

However, New Era Enterprisers – who are less solidly Republican, younger and more ethnically diverse than the other right-leaning groups – are less likely to say the nation has made needed changes on race. About half of New Era Enterprisers (48%) say the country has made necessary changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, while nearly as many (43%) say more changes are needed.

With the exception of the Opportunity Democrats, the groups on the political left broadly express the view that the U.S. needs to continue making changes in order to give blacks equal rights with whites. A clear majority (67%) of Opportunity Democrats also support this idea, but nearly a third (31%) say that the country has made the necessary changes, setting them apart from the other Democratic-leaning groups.

Sharp differences among Democratic-leaning groups on racial discrimination and black achievement

There is a similar pattern in views of whether racism is a major problem in the U.S. Majorities of all four Democratic-leaning typology groups say racism is a “big problem” in society. Substantially smaller shares of Republican-leaning groups – ranging from 26% of Core Conservatives to 45% of Market Skeptic Republicans – view racism as a major problem.

However, Democratic groups are more deeply divided on whether racial discrimination is the main reason many blacks are unable to get ahead.

Among Solid Liberals – who include larger shares of white non-Hispanics and college graduates than other Democratic-leaning groups – 91% say racial discrimination is the main reason many blacks cannot get ahead. That number falls to 63% among Disaffected Democrats and 54% for Opportunity Democrats. And among Devout and Diverse, a group that is 53% nonwhite, only 41% see racism as the main barrier to blacks getting ahead; 47% say blacks who are unable to get ahead are mainly responsible for their own condition.

On broader attitudes about discrimination – whether it is generally overstated or understated – majorities in Republican-leaning groups say the bigger problem is “people seeing discrimination where it really does not exist.” Among each of the Democratic-leaning groups, about 70% or more say the bigger problem is people failing to see discrimination “where it really does exist.”

In opinions about affirmative action, 71% of Americans take a positive view of affirmative action programs “designed to increase the number of black and minority students on college campuses,” up from 63% who said this in 2014.

Among the political typology groups, Core Conservatives are the only one in which a majority (57%) says affirmative action programs at colleges are a bad thing. About half of Country First Conservatives and Market Skeptic Republicans say these programs are a good thing (52% and 53%, respectively), while New Era Enterprisers are more positive (67% say they are a good thing).

Large majorities of every Democratic-leaning group say affirmative action programs are a good thing (74% of Devout and Diverse, 88% of Disaffected Democrats, 81% of Opportunity Democrats and 94% of Solid Liberals).

Views of Black Lives Matter

Polarized views of the Black Lives Matter movement

The Black Lives Matter movement divides typology groups along ideological lines.

Support for the Black Lives Matter movement is most widespread – and intense – among Solid Liberals. More than nine-in-ten Solid Liberals (94%) support the movement, with 65% saying they support it strongly.

And opposition is strongest among Core Conservatives: 84% oppose the group, 66% strongly.

Opinions about Black Lives Matter are less one-sided across other typology groups. Aside from Solid Liberals, majorities of the three other Democratic-leaning groups support Black Lives Matter – though 31% of Devout and Diverse say they oppose the movement.

Among GOP groups, large majorities of Core Conservatives (84%) and Country First Conservatives (69%) oppose the Black Lives Matter movement; opposition is less pronounced among Market Skeptic Republicans (50% oppose) and New Era Enterprisers (49% oppose).

Views of Immigrants and Nation’s ‘Openness’

When it comes to attitudes about immigration, Democratic-leaning groups hold almost universally positive attitudes toward immigrants and support the idea of America being open to people from all over the world. Virtually all Solid Liberals say that immigrants strengthen the society and that openness is “essential” to America’s identity as a nation (99% each).

The only group on the political left that holds ambivalent views of immigrants is Devout and Diverse, a group that is racially and ethnically diverse and also has the lowest family incomes and levels of educational attainment of any typology group.

The Republican-leaning groups are sharply divided in views of immigrants and the nation’s openness to people from around the world. About three-quarters of Country First Conservatives (76%) say immigrants are a burden on the country – the largest share of any typology group. Country First Conservatives also are most likely to say that the U.S. risks losing its identity as a nation if it is too open to people from around the world (64% say this).

Country First Conservatives say too much openness to people from all over the world jeopardizes the nation's indentity

Compared with Country First Conservatives, Core Conservatives and Market Skeptic Republicans have more divided views of immigrants and whether too much openness risks the nation’s identity. New Era Enterprisers have the most positive views among Republican-leaning groups: 70% view immigrants as a strength and 65% say America’s openness is “essential to who we are as a nation.”

Islam and Violence

GOP groups say Islam is more likely to promote violence among its followers

A large majority of Core Conservatives (79%) say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its followers.

And roughly the same percentage of Solid Liberals (83%) say Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions.

The views of other typology groups divide along partisan lines, with one exception. As with views of immigration, Devout and Diverse differ from other Democratic-leaning groups in their views of Islam and violence.

Devout and Diverse are divided – 47% say Islam is more likely to encourage violence, 44% say it is not – while sizable majorities in other Democratic groups say Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions.

Foreign Policy

Overview

Both partisan coalitions are divided on whether U.S. should be active globally

Partisanship and ideology are major factors in attitudes about foreign policy and U.S. global engagement. But both the Republican-oriented and Democratic-leaning coalitions are internally divided in opinions about America’s global role and U.S. economic engagement.

Among the public overall, 47% say “it’s best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs,” while an identical percentage says “we should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.”

More Americans say it is best for the U.S. to be active globally than did so in 2014 (35%), with the shift coming almost entirely among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

Yet while large majorities of Solid Liberals (87%) and Opportunity Democrats (76%) express positive opinions of U.S. global engagement, this view is not widely shared among Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse, who are less affluent and have lower levels of education than do Solid Liberals and Opportunity Democrats.

Just 30% of Disaffected Democrats and 22% of Devout and Diverse say it’s best for the U.S. to be active internationally; majorities in both groups (63% of Disaffected Democrats, 69% of Devout and Diverse) say the nation should pay less attention to problems overseas.

The Republican-leaning typology groups also are divided over U.S. global activism. Half of Core Conservatives – who are better educated and more affluent than other GOP groups – say the U.S. should be active globally, as do 45% of New Era Enterprisers.

Core Conservatives, Solid Liberals view global economic involvement positively

By contrast, majorities of both Country First Conservatives (66%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (72%), who are far less financially satisfied than the other Republican groups, say the U.S. should concentrate on problems at home and pay less attention to problems overseas.

The pattern is somewhat similar in opinions about U.S. involvement in the global economy. Overall, 65% of Americans see U.S. global economic involvement as a good thing because “it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.” Fewer (29%) say it is a bad thing because it lowers wages and costs jobs.

Among GOP-leaning groups, Country First Conservatives and Market Skeptic Republicans are the most skeptical of global economic engagement, while Core Conservatives and New Era Enterprisers are much more positive.

Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse view U.S. global engagement more negatively than do Solid Liberals and Opportunity Democrats.

This is an issue on which Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives have rare common ground. Majorities of both groups (85%of Solid Liberals, 68% of Core Conservatives) express positive views of U.S. involvement in the global economy.

‘Country First Conservatives’ Staunchly Oppose Heeding Allies’ Interests

Ideological divides in views of taking allies' interests into account

Opinions about cooperating with U.S. allies are deeply divided along partisan and ideological lines. Among the public overall, 59% say the U.S. “should take allies’ interests into account, even if it means compromising with them.” Slightly more than a third (36%) say the U.S. should “follow its own national interests, even when allies strongly disagree.”

Reflecting their name, Country First Conservatives are most likely to say the U.S. should follow its own interests, even when allies disagree (76%). A majority of Core Conservatives (64%) share this view. However, Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers are more divided in views of dealing with U.S. allies.

On the left, nearly all Solid Liberals (97%) and Opportunity Democrats (94%) say the U.S. should take into account allies’ interests, even if it means compromising. A smaller majority of Disaffected Democrats (61%) say the same.

But among Devout and Diverse, just 26% favor taking allies’ interests into account, while more than twice as many (64%) say the U.S. should follow its own national interests, even when allies disagree.

Public Split over Need to Give Up Privacy for Safety from Terrorism

Solid Liberals least likely to see need for sacrificing privacy for safety

Overall, about half of the public (51%) thinks Americans need to “sacrifice some privacy and freedoms in order to be safe from terrorism”; about as many (46%) think Americans do not need to do this.

Solid Liberals stand out from all other typology groups on this question: They are the only typology group in which a majority (58%) says Americans do not need to sacrifice privacy for safety from terrorism; 40% say Americans need to sacrifice some privacy and freedoms to be safe.

By contrast, Opportunity Democrats, Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse are split in their opinions.

Among Republican-leaning typology groups, majorities of Country First Conservatives (55%), Market Skeptic Republicans (56%) and New Era Enterprisers (62%) think Americans need to sacrifice some privacy in the interest of safety from terrorism.

However, Core Conservatives are divided. As many of them say Americans need to sacrifice some civil liberties to be safe from terrorism as say they do not (48% each).

Environmental Attitudes

Overview

The public is deeply divided along partisan and ideological lines in its opinions about environmental issues. And these differences are reflected in how the political typology groups view these issues.

In views of global warming, nearly all Solid Liberals say there is clear evidence that Earth’s temperatures have been rising, with 95% saying this is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels. Among Core Conservatives, only about quarter see solid evidence of global warming – and just 5% say the main cause is human activity.

Opinions vary across the other typology groups. Majorities across the Democratic-leaning groups say there is solid evidence of global warming, but only about half of Devout and Diverse (52%) say it is mostly caused by human activity, the lowest share in any Democratic group.

Core Conservatives are far more likely than other typology groups to say there is no 'solid evidence' that global temperatures have increased

Among Republican-leaning groups, Core Conservatives are the only one in which a clear majority (71%) say there is no solid evidence of global warming. Country First Conservatives are more divided (44% see solid evidence of warming, 50% say there is no solid evidence). Two-thirds of Market Skeptic Republicans and New Era Enterprisers (66% each) say there is solid evidence of global warming.

Wide differences across typology groups in views of stricter environmental laws

Similarly, there are substantial differences in both partisan coalitions in views of stricter environmental laws. Large majorities of Core Conservatives (92%) and Country First Conservatives (70%) say stricter environmental laws cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. But majorities in the other GOP-leaning groups – Market Skeptic Republicans (57%) and New Era Enterprisers (60%) – say stricter environmental laws are worth the costs.

Among Democratic-oriented groups, sizable majorities say stricter environmental laws are worth the cost, with the notable exception of Devout and Diverse. This financially hard-pressed group is divided: 48% say stricter environmental laws are worth the cost, while 45% say they cost too many jobs and hurt the economy.

Importance of Personal Efforts to Help the Environment

Views on the importance of personal efforts to help protect the environment given the cost vary across typology groups as well.

Among the public overall, 53% say protecting the environment is so important “that I do things in my own life to help the environment, even if it costs time or money,” while fewer (37%) say “it’s important, but I don’t have the time or money” that it takes right now. Just 9% say it is not that important right now.

Solid Liberals are the most likely to say helping the environment is so important that they do things in their own lives despite the cost or time investment: 80% say this, while just 17% say it’s important but they don’t have the time or money right now.

Most say it's important to take steps to protect environment, but many lack time or money to act

Majorities of all other groups say it’s important to protect the environment, though there are differences in whether it is something they are able to do now. For example, 68% of Opportunity Democrats say protecting the environment is important enough that they do things in their own lives, but smaller shares of Disaffected Democrats (56%) and Devout and Diverse (48%) – two financially hard-pressed groups – say the same.

About half of New Era Enterprisers (51%) say protecting the environment is so important that they take steps to do this in their own lives. By comparison, just 31% of Core Conservatives say they do things in their own lives to protect the environment, even if it costs them time or money.

Views on Religion and Social Issues

Overview

In many ways, the partisan imprints of the typology groups are clearly visible on questions about religion and social issues. However, in some cases, the unique religious and attitudinal profiles of the groups result in patterns of opinion not typically seen on other political measures.

On questions about religion and morality, and the government’s role promoting religious values, the Democratic-leaning Devout and Diverse and deeply Republican Country First Conservatives have similar views. Solid Liberals, by contrast, stake out a distinctly secular point of view: Large majorities reject belief in God as a prerequisite for being a moral person and say government should play no role promoting religious values and beliefs.

On the contentious issue of abortion, similar majorities of the two most-Republican groups (Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives) say it should be illegal. But there is considerable distance between these deep-red groups in their views of same-sex marriage.

And while support for same-sex marriage and legal abortion are nearly unanimously held positions among Solid Liberals, there are significant differences in the shares of other Democratic-oriented groups who express these views.

Religiosity and Religious Affiliation

Country First Conservatives, Devout and Diverse link morality to belief in God

Views of morality and belief in God highlight commonalities between two typology groups with very different partisan profiles.

Overall, 68% of Country First Conservatives (a strongly Republican group) say that it’s necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values, while just 28% say this is not necessary. Views among the Democratic-leaning Devout and Diverse are very similar: 64% say it’s necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values, compared with 33% who say it’s not necessary.

Solid Liberals are by far the most likely to reject the connection between belief in God and morality: Fully 91% say it is not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values. Two-thirds of Opportunity Democrats (67%) and 56% of Disaffected Democrats share this view.

Outside of Country First Conservatives, Republican-oriented typology groups are more divided in their views of whether it’s necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.

When it comes to the intersection of religious belief and government policy, most Americans (65%) think religion should be kept separate from government policies, while 32% think government policies should support religious values and beliefs.

Solid Liberals overwhelmingly want govt policies to be separate from religion

Most Democratic-oriented typology groups think religion should be kept separate from government policies. An overwhelming 92% of Solid Liberals say this, along with 77% of Opportunity Democrats and 69% of Disaffected Democrats. Devout and Diverse – who connect religious belief to being a moral person – are more divided in their views: 54% think religion should be kept separate from government policies, compared with 45% who think government policies should support religious values.

Among Republican-oriented groups, most Market Skeptic Republicans (62%) and New Era Enterprisers (58%) think religion should be kept separate from government policy. By contrast, Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives are divided over whether the government should have a role supporting religious values and beliefs.

In part, the typology groups’ attitudes about religion and society reflect differences in religious affiliation.

Differing religious profiles across typology groups

Country First Conservatives (43%) and Core Conservatives (34%) are more likely than other groups to be white evangelical Protestants. Relatively few among both groups say they are religiously unaffiliated. White evangelicals make up smaller shares of the two other Republican-leaning groups, Market Skeptic Republicans (25%) and New Era Enterprisers (17%).

While about a quarter of the public is religiously unaffiliated, that rises to almost half (48%) for Solid Liberals, a significantly larger share than among any other typology group.

Among other Democratic groups, 28% of Disaffected Democrats and 26% of Opportunity Democrats do not have a religious affiliation. Devout and Diverse are somewhat less likely than these groups to be religiously unaffiliated.

Within Both Partisan Coalitions, Some Differences on Abortion

Divided views about abortion among Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers, Devout and Diverse

More Americans say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (57%) than say it should be illegal in all or most cases (40%), and the issue broadly splits along partisan lines. But there also are divides within each party coalition.

Large majorities of Core Conservatives (69%) and Country First Conservatives (68%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Other Republican-leaning groups are more divided in their views of abortion.

Among Democratic-oriented groups, nine-in-ten Solid Liberals (90%) say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, along with narrower majorities of Opportunity Democrats (75%) and Disaffected Democrats (68%).

By comparison, Devout and the Diverse are split in their views: 49% think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while about as many (46%) think it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Views of Same-Sex Marriage

Overall, 62% favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, compared with fewer (32%) who are opposed to same-sex marriage. Pew Research Center surveys have documented rising acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality over the course of the past decade.

Country First Conservatives are the only typology group in which a majority (73%) says it opposes same-sex marriage (including 37% who are strongly opposed). Core Conservatives are about equally likely to favor (43%) as to oppose (49%) same-sex marriage. Majorities of Market Skeptic Republicans (57%) and New Era Enterprisers (54%) favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

Support for same-sex marriage is a near-unanimous position among Solid Liberals: 96% say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, including 70% who say they strongly favor this. About eight-in-ten Opportunity Democrats (82%) and 68% of Disaffected Democrats also favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Devout and Diverse stand out from other Democratic-leaning groups: About as many say they are in favor (46%) as opposed (47%) to same-sex marriage.

Differences over Whether Women Continue to Face Obstacles Men Do Not

Most in the Democratic-oriented groups say women still face obstacles

Overall, a majority of the public thinks that women continue to face challenges that men do not: 55% say “there are still significant obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead than men,” while 42% say the obstacles that once made it harder for women to get ahead are now largely gone.

Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives are on opposite ends of the spectrum on this issue. Nearly all Solid Liberals (97%) say women continue to face obstacles that make it harder for them to get ahead than men. By contrast, 90% of Core Conservatives say that the obstacles that once made it harder for women to get ahead are now largely gone.

Country First Conservatives – a group that is just as Republican as Core Conservatives – have mixed views: 49% say obstacles women faced in the past are now largely gone, compared with 43% who say significant obstacles still remain. About seven-in-ten New Era Enterprisers (69%) say the obstacles that once made it harder for women than men to get ahead are now largely gone; 57% of Market Skeptic Republicans also hold this view.

Majorities of all Democratic-leaning groups say women still face obstacles that make it harder to get ahead than men, though Solid Liberals and Disaffected Democrats are more likely to say this than Opportunity Democrats or Devout and Diverse. The 40-percentage-point gap between the views of Solid Liberals (97%) and Opportunity Democrats (57%) on this question is one of the largest differences between these two groups in this survey.

Wrongful Convictions Seen as Worse than Letting Guilty Go Free

Most say convicting an innocent person is worse than letting guilty go free

Thinking about different types of mistakes in the justice system, most Americans say it is worse to convict an innocent person (70%) than to let a guilty person go free (23%).

Across all typology groups, more say it is worse to convict an innocent person than to let a guilty person go free. Nearly nine-in-ten Solid Liberals (87%) say this, along with somewhat narrower majorities in most other groups. Country First Conservatives are the least likely to say this: 50% say it’s worse to convict an innocent person, compared with 33% who say it’s worse to let a guilty person go free (15% of those in this group volunteer both – a significantly greater share than in other groups).

Financial Well-Being, Personal Characteristics and Lifestyles of the Political Typology

The political typology groups vary substantially in perceptions of financial well-being, as well as in their community preferences and leisure pursuits. From whether they enjoy hunting or reading books to the various ways they access television, these differences help paint a portrait of a changing nation.

There are stark divides across the typology groups in income and wealth, and to some degree these gaps are reflected in assessments of personal finances. Among Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse – which have the lowest family incomes among the typology groups – fewer than four-in-ten say they are generally satisfied with their finances (37% of Disaffected Democrats, 35% of Devout and Diverse). Among other groups, about half or more express satisfaction with their personal finances.

Disaffected Democrats, Devout and Diverse are far less financially satisfied than other typology groups

However, while Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals have the highest family incomes among typology groups (about half in each group have incomes of at least $75,000), more Core Conservatives than Solid Liberals express satisfaction with their personal finances (76% vs. 62%).

And while New Era Enterprisers are not nearly as affluent as these two groups (just a third have family incomes of $75,000 or more), a relatively large share (72%) are satisfied financially.

Assessments of personal financial security – the length of time people estimate they can live off of their savings – track closely with the measure of financial satisfaction. Core Conservatives are most likely to say they could live off of their savings for at least three months (72% say they are able to do this). Just 36% of Disaffected Democrats and 33% of Devout and Diverse say they would be able to survive on their savings that long.

When it comes to employment, more than half of U.S. adults (58%) report being employed and not looking for more, meaning they are either fully employed or employed part-time but not seeking additional employment. Another 28% of adults report being unemployed, but say they are not looking for additional employment.  However, 14% of Americans are underemployed; whether they are unemployed or employed part time, this group is unhappy with their employment status and looking for more.

There are wide disparities in the shares of typology groups who say they are working. In part, these differences are attributable to age. Among Country First Conservatives, 71% of whom are ages 50 and older, only about half (47%) report being fully employed or employed part-time and not looking for work. But relatively few in this group – just 8% – report they are underemployed; 44% say they are not employed and not looking for work.

This stands in contrast to Disaffected Democrats, who are relatively young (37% are 50 and older). Just 53% in this group say they are employed and not looking for work, which is comparable to the Country First Conservatives. But among the younger Disaffected Democrats, nearly three times as many report that they are underemployed (22% vs. 8%).

The two ideological anchors of the political typology, Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives, include large shares of people who are working and not looking for work (67% of Solid Liberals and 66% of Core Conservatives).

Home Ownership, Investments, Passports

Core Conservatives most likely to be homeowners; Solid Liberals most likely to have a passport

Core Conservatives are most likely to own their homes; 86% say they own a home, more than 10 percentage points higher than any other typology group.

Core Conservatives, along with Solid Liberals, also are most likely to have a major credit card and to invest money in the stock market, including retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s.

About eight-in-ten Core Conservatives (82%) and Solid Liberals (79%) say they have a major credit card. Comparable shares of both groups (76% of Core Conservatives, 71% of Solid Liberals) say they have investments in the stock market.

Significantly smaller shares of the two most financially stressed typology groups, Disaffected Democrats and Devout and Diverse, say they own homes, have credit cards and have market investments.

When it comes to having a passport, however, Solid Liberals stand out. Two-thirds of Solid Liberals (67%) say they have a passport, the highest share of any typology group. By contrast, just 36% of Country First Conservatives have a passport, the lowest share of any group.

Where People Prefer to Live – and Where They Actually Live

Republican-leaning groups prefer larger houses, spread out communities

When it comes to the types of communities where people want to live, Americans are divided between wanting to live in a community where houses are larger but farther apart and one where houses are smaller but closer together.

These preferences are divided along partisan and ideological lines. Large majorities in the two most conservative groups in the political typology – Core Conservatives (69%) and Country First Conservatives (71%) – would prefer a community where there are larger houses that are farther apart, even if it meant schools, stores and restaurants were several miles away.

An equally large majority of Solid Liberals (70%) say they would prefer a community where houses are smaller and closer together, with stores and restaurants within walking distance. Other typology groups are more divided, with Democratic groups generally opting for smaller houses in walkable communities, and Republican groups preferring larger houses in communities that are more spread out.

Many Solid Liberals live in urban areas; Country First Conservatives are most likely to live in rural areas

When it comes to communities where people actually live, more people live in a suburban area (49%) than in urban (34%) or rural areas (18%) – and this is true across most typology groups. However, among Solid Liberals, nearly equal shares live in urban (44%) and suburban (46%) communities. And while among Republican groups about half or more live in the suburbs, Country First Conservatives are most likely to live in rural areas (31%).

Regardless of the type of community where they grew up, many Americans say they have lived in their local community their entire life.

Only about a third of Solid Liberals have lived in same community their entire life

This is particularly pronounced among Disaffected Democrats (55%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (50%), more than half of whom have never moved away from the community where they grew up.

By contrast, just about a third (32%) of Solid Liberals have lived in the same community their entire lives.

Solid Liberals Most Likely to Take Public Transportation

Sizeable majorities in most GOP typology groups say they rarely or never take public transportation

The types of communities in which people live have a major impact on their transportation options. Most Americans (70%) say they rarely, if ever, use public transportation. About two-in-ten (18%) say they use public transportation between once or twice a month and a few times a year, while just 12% say they use it at least once a week.

Public transit use is higher on the left than the right, particularly among groups with higher shares living in urban areas.

About half (47%) of Solid Liberals say they use public transportation at least a few times a year, including 19% who use it at least once a week.

Access to public transportation plays a role in use. For example, while 91% of Country First Conservatives have rarely or never taken public transportation, just 16% of that group lives in an urban area where such transportation options are most prevalent. By comparison, New Era Enterprisers are more likely than other Republican groups to live in urban areas and they also have the highest rate of public transit use among GOP-leaning typology groups.

Drug Addiction has Impacted GOP and Democratic Groups Alike

Large shares across all typology groups have been affected by drug addiction

Drug addiction has touched the lives of millions of Americans. Overall, nearly half of the public (46%) say they have a family member of close friend who is or has been addicted to drugs.

Among typology groups, Market Skeptic Republicans (57%) and Disaffected Democrats (51%) are most likely to say a friend or family member has been addicted to drugs.

But this experience is relatively commonplace even among affluent typology groups – 46% of Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals report they have a friend or family member who has been addicted to drugs.

Nearly one-in-three Devout and Diverse Democrats say they're smokers

When it comes to another public health issue, cigarette smoking, relatively large shares of the two groups with the lowest family incomes – Devout and Diverse (31%) and Disaffected Democrats (26%) – say they smoke at least sometimes. However, about as many Market Skeptic Republicans (25%) say they smoke that often.

Nearly one-in-three Devout and Diverse Democrats say they're smokers

While some right-leaning groups are less likely to be current smokers, many report being former smokers. Just 16% of Country First Conservatives say they are current smokers, but 40% of this group say they used to smoke regularly. And while just 10% of New Era Enterprisers say they regularly smoke now, another 32% say they used to smoke.

Educational Differences among Typology Groups

The educational levels among typology groups vary widely, and there are sharp educational differences within each party’s coalition.

Solid Liberals include by far the highest share of college graduates: 57% have at least a four-year degree, while 29% have postgraduate degrees. By contrast, the Democratic-leaning Devout and Diverse have the least amount of educational experience (56% have a high school degree or less).

Larger differences in education attainment among Democratic than Republican typology groups

Similar, though less stark, contrasts exist between Republican-leaning groups: A third of Core Conservatives have completed college, compared with 16% of Country First Conservatives.

Majorities of college graduates within all typology groups say most of their friends have a college degree. Those in Democratic-leaning groups are only slightly more likely to say this than those in Republican-leaning groups.

Among those without a college degree, there is more variation in the share who say their friends have completed college. More than four-in-ten Solid Liberals who do not have a college degree (42%) say most of their friends have completed college, the highest share among typology groups. By contrast, among Devout and Diverse who do not have college degrees, just 17% say most of their friends have finished college.

Among Republican-leaning groups, 58% of Core Conservatives without a college degree say their close friends are a mix of those with and without a college degree, while 23% say most of their close friends have graduated college and 18% say most do not have a college degree. Those without a college degree in the other Republican-leaning typology groups are somewhat more likely than Core Conservatives to say most of their friends do not have a college degree: Roughly three-in-ten say this.

Solid Liberals, regardless of educational attainment, are more likely to have college-educated friends

Military Service, Union Membership

Military service more common among Republican than Democratic groups

One-in-ten Americans (10%) have served in the military. This is more common among Republican-leaning groups like Core Conservatives (17%), Country First Conservatives (16%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (15%). By contrast, all four left-leaning groups have lower shares of veterans, with only 5% of Solid Liberals reporting they previously served in the military.

While labor unions have traditionally been more Democratic-leaning institutions, many in right- and left-leaning typology groups report being members. Sizable shares of Country First Conservatives (17%), Solid Liberals (15%) and Market Skeptic Republicans (15%) say they are members of a labor union. By contrast, just 6% of Opportunity Democrats say they are union members.

Wide Differences in Interests and Activities

Conservative groups enjoy hunting; Devout and Diverse, Disaffected Democrats like to go to casinos

Aside from their political differences, Democrats and Republicans also tend to enjoy different activities and interests. Activities such as reading books and going to museums are generally more widely enjoyed among Democratic-leaning groups. By contrast, Republican leaning groups are more likely to say they like hunting or sport shooting than their Democratic-leaning counterparts.

About seven-in-ten Solid Liberals (72%) say they like going to museums a lot. Smaller majorities of other Democratic groups also say they enjoy museums a great deal.

By contrast, just 36% of Country First Conservatives and 39% of Core Conservatives say they like going to museums a lot.

Among Country First Conservatives, 45% say they like hunting or sport shooting a lot. Similar shares of Core Conservatives and Market Skeptic Republicans also say this. However, just 3% of Solid Liberals say they like hunting or sport shooting a lot.

Volunteering garners more bipartisan interest. About six-in-ten Disaffected Democrats (58%) say they like volunteering a lot. Similar shares of most other groups, including New Era Enterprisers, Devout and Diverse, and Market Skeptic Republicans say this.

Devout and Diverse and Disaffected Democrats are more likely than other groups to say they enjoy going to casinos a lot (22% and 19%, respectively). Much smaller shares of the two typology groups with the highest family incomes, Core Conservatives (8%) and Solid Liberals (4%) say they enjoy casinos a great deal.

Technology Use

Americans are split when it comes to whether they could live without a cellphone: About as many say they can’t imagine living without their cellphone as say that they could live without it (30% and 31%, respectively). A slightly higher share (38%) say they “would miss it, but could probably live without a cellphone.”

Streaming TV online is more widespread among younger typology groups, including Solid Liberals; older groups, such as Country First Conservatives, still watch cable

Higher shares of those in Democratic-leaning groups than Republican-leaning groups say they could not imagine living without their cellphones. Fully 39% of Solid Liberals say this (just 17% say they are OK living without their phones).

By contrast, 43% of Country First Conservatives say they could live without their cellphones. Just 20% say they can’t imagine living without their cellphones.

When it comes to how Americans watch television, Democratic-leaning typology groups, particularly Solid Liberals, are more likely than Republican-leaning groups to use streaming services to watch television rather than traditional cable.

Four-in-ten Solid Liberals (42%), who are among the youngest typology groups, use streaming services as their primary mode of watching television. Just 9% of Country First Conservatives – the oldest typology group – say they do this.

Appendix: Typology Group Profiels

Core Conservatives

Defining values: This overwhelmingly Republican group holds conservative attitudes across a wide range of issues, especially in their support for smaller government. Core Conservatives are deeply skeptical of the social safety net and favor lower tax rates on corporations and high-income individuals. While they are divided on whether immigrants do more to strengthen or burden the country, Core Conservatives offer far more positive views of immigrants than do Country First Conservatives. Core Conservatives are relatively upbeat about national conditions and a majority says that the United States “stands above” all other nations in the world.

Political attitudes: Core Conservatives are highly engaged in politics: Fully 93% say they always or nearly always vote in elections. While they overwhelmingly approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, about half say they have “mixed feelings” about Trump’s personal conduct in office.

Who they are: Two-thirds (67%) are men, a far greater share than for any other typology group. More than eight-in-ten (85%) are non-Hispanic white. Core Conservatives are among the most content with their personal financial situation of the groups. They are more likely than other GOP-leaning groups to have completed college (33% have at least a bachelor’s degree), but they also are the group most likely to say colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country (80%).

Lifestyle notes: Core Conservatives are more likely than other typology groups to own their homes, and many have money invested in the stock market. Roughly half (53%) say their family has achieved the American Dream, the most of any typology group.

Key beliefs, Core Conservatives

Country First Conservatives

Defining values: This largely Republican group is highly critical of immigration and U.S. global involvement. Country First Conservatives are most likely to describe immigrants as a burden on the country and to say that too much openness threatens American identity. More than any other group, they say that America should act in its own interest even when its foreign allies disagree. Like Core Conservatives, they prefer a smaller government with fewer services, and most think that government is wasteful and inefficient. Country First Conservatives are conservative on social issues and are the only typology group in which a majority says homosexuality should be discouraged by society.

Political attitudes: Country First Conservatives are staunch supporters of Donald Trump – 93% have a favorable opinion of the president. They tend to closely follow politics and government, but they are not as politically engaged as Core Conservatives.

Who they are: Country First Conservatives are the oldest typology group (71% are 50 or older) and among the most likely to say they attend church at least weekly (50%). Most are white non-Hispanic (83%), and 54% are men. Half (50%) have a high school degree or less education.

Lifestyle notes: Country First Conservatives would overwhelmingly rather live in a community where houses are larger and farther apart than smaller and closer together, and they are more likely than those in other groups to live in rural areas. Half are retired, by far the highest share among all typology groups. More than four-in-ten (45%) say they enjoy hunting and sport shooting a lot.

Key beliefs, Country First Conservatives

Market Skeptic Republicans

Defining values: Critical of many major institutions and government, Market Skeptic Republicans mostly identify with, or lean toward, the GOP. They stand out from other Republican-oriented groups in their negative views of the economic system: An overwhelming majority say it “unfairly favors powerful interests.” Most also say businesses make too much profit, and they are the most likely Republican-leaning group to want to raise taxes on corporations (55%). They are similar to other GOP-leaning groups in their skepticism about the social safety net.

Political attitudes: Market Skeptic Republicans are less politically engaged than the two conservative groups; only 44% say it matters a great deal which party controls Congress next year. They also are downbeat about politics: 54% say their side has been losing more often than winning on the issues that matter to them. While they hold the Democratic Party in low regard, a third of Market Skeptic Republicans also have an unfavorable view of the GOP.

Who they are: A majority (55%) of Market Skeptic Republicans are younger than 50. Only about a third (34%) say they attend religious services at least weekly, the lowest share among Republican-leaning groups. Most have family incomes below $75,000 annually, and 46% are not satisfied with their financial situation.

Lifestyle notes: A relatively large share of Market Skeptic Republicans (50%) say they have lived in or near their local community for their entire life. Most (57%) say a friend or family member has been addicted to drugs, a larger share than most other typology groups. They also are among the most likely to be regular smokers.

Key beliefs, Market Skeptic Republicans

New Era Enterprisers

Defining values: This relatively young, economically conservative, Republican-leaning group tends to be relatively moderate on immigration and views about America’s engagement with the rest of the world. Most say U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing and that immigrants strengthen the nation. As is the case with other GOP-leaning groups, a majority of New Era Enterprisers reject the idea that racial discrimination is the main reason many black people are unable to get ahead.  Nearly two-thirds favor societal acceptance of homosexuality. New Era Enterprisers are less critical about government than other Republican-leaning groups.

Political attitudes: About six-in-ten (63%) New Era Enterprisers approve of Donald Trump’s job performance. But more take a negative (39%) than positive view (23%) of Trump’s conduct in office; 38% have mixed feelings. Of all the Republican-leaning typology groups, they are least likely to express negative attitudes toward the Democratic Party. Like Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers are less politically engaged than the two conservative GOP-oriented groups.

Who they are: New Era Enterprisers are the youngest Republican-oriented group: 26% are younger than 30, and a majority are under the age of 50. While two-thirds (66%) are non-Hispanic whites, New Era Enterprisers have the highest share of non-whites among Republican-leaning groups. While they are not affluent, a large majority (72%) say they are generally satisfied with their financial situation.

Lifestyle notes: Reflecting their relative youth, 60% of New Era Enterprisers enjoy exercising and they are among the least likely to regularly smoke cigarettes. New Era Enterprisers are more likely than those in other Republican-leaning groups to live in urban areas.

Key beliefs, New Era Enterprisers

Devout and Diverse

Defining values:  This racially and ethnically diverse group is less politically homogenous than most other typology groups, though a 59% majority associates with the Democratic Party. Devout and Diverse voice strong support for the social safety net and further action on racial equality. However, they take more conservative views than their fellow Democratic-leaning groups on a number of issues including global engagement, views of business and attitudes on homosexuality and immigrants. Devout and Diverse are defined, in part, by their faith: Most say that it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.

Political attitudes: Most disapprove of Donald Trump’s job performance, but their opposition to Trump and the GOP is not especially intense. In part, this reflects the fact that about a quarter (26%) are Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party, and 40% describe their own ideology as conservative. Devout and Diverse are not deeply engaged in politics. Only 43% say they follow what’s going on in politics and government most of the time (the lowest of any typology group), and just 44% say it matters a great deal which party wins control of Congress next year.

Who they are: Devout and Diverse are majority non-white: Three-in-ten are black, 16% are Hispanic, 7% are some other race (including Asian or Native American) or of mixed race. Just 15% have a college degree, and only about a third are satisfied with their own financial situation. Devout and Diverse are the oldest Democratic-oriented typology group: 60% are 50 and older.

Lifestyle notes: About four-in-ten (41%) say they attend religious services at least once a week, the highest share across Democratic-leaning groups. Just 35% say they have any investments in the stock market. They are among the most likely to regularly smoke cigarettes.

Key beliefs, Devout and Diverse

Disaffected Democrats

Defining values: This majority-minority group mostly identifies as Democratic or leans toward the Democratic Party. Disaffected Democrats strongly believe the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests and that business corporations make too much profit. Relatively few believe their family has achieved the American Dream, and 24% believe it is out of reach for their family. Most say the government should do more to help the needy and that poor people have hard lives because government benefits do not go far enough to help them live decently. In contrast to other Democratic-oriented groups, a majority (63%) characterizes government as “almost always wasteful and inefficient.”

Political attitudes: Though less politically engaged, Disaffected Democrats share Solid Liberals’ disapproval of Donald Trump: 91% disapprove of his job performance, including 85% who do so strongly. Just 43% of Disaffected Democrats say voting gives people like them some say about how the government runs things, the lowest percentage of any typology group.

Who they are: Over half (56%) of Disaffected Democrats are non-white. Highly financially stressed, they are the least likely to own a home and – along with Devout and Diverse – would have a tougher time than other typology groups if they needed to live off of their savings.

Lifestyle notes: Most Disaffected Democrats (55%) say they have lived in or near their local community for their entire life.  Most (58%) say they enjoy volunteering “a lot.”

Key beliefs, Disaffected Democrats

Opportunity Democrats

Defining values: Democratic-leaning and financially comfortable, Opportunity Democrats have liberal attitudes on most issues including the environment, immigration and homosexuality. They stand out from other Democratic groups in their strong belief that hard work is enough for most people to get ahead and for being somewhat less likely to see structural barriers facing blacks and women. They are supportive of U.S. engagement abroad and involvement in global markets.

Political attitudes: Opportunity Democrats are among the most likely to describe their own political views as moderate: 46% say this, compared with 32% who say they are liberal and 21% who identify as conservative. While a wide majority disapprove of Trump’s job performance (86%), Opportunity Democrats are less likely to strongly disapprove of Trump than either Solid Liberals or Disaffected Democrats.

Who they are: About six-in-ten (57%) are non-Hispanic whites, 14% are black and 20% are Hispanic. About a third (34%) are college graduates, another 30% have some college experience.  They are among the more financially satisfied typology groups: 66% say they are satisfied with the way things are going for them financially.

Lifestyle notes: About eight-in-ten (79%) are satisfied with the way things are going in their local communities. They are more likely than other groups to have friends who do not share their partisan affiliation. Most have a current U.S. passport and say they have money invested in the stock market.

Key beliefs, Opportunity Democrats

Solid liberals

Defining values: Highly educated and politically engaged, Solid Liberals hold consistently liberal values. They back a robust role for government and are strong advocates of the social safety net. Large majorities view the current economic system as unfair and see economic inequality as a major problem. They take broadly positive views of immigrants, and fully 99% think being open to people from around the world is an essential part of the nation’s identity. Most say more needs to be done to address both racial discrimination and obstacles to women’s achievement. They support same-sex marriage and believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. Solid Liberals are the most Democratic of all typology groups: nearly two-thirds (64%) identify as Democrats, another 35% lean toward the Democratic Party.

Political attitudes: Solid Liberals are the most engaged Democratic group – 89% say they vote always or nearly always, and fully 97% say it matters a great deal or fair amount which party wins control of Congress next year. Their opposition to Donald Trump is overwhelming: 97% say they strongly disapprove of his job performance, and 91% say they disagree with Trump on all or nearly all issues. A 71% majority identify as liberal.

Who they are: The most highly educated of the typology groups, 57% are college graduates and nearly three-in-ten (29%) have a graduate degree. Non-Hispanic whites make up the vast majority of this group (73%), and the group is more female than male (59% to 41%). Solid Liberals are financially satisfied and among the most likely to live in urban areas.

Lifestyle notes: Most Solid Liberals (72%) say they enjoy going to museums a lot, and 75% say artists contribute a lot to society – the highest shares across typology groups. They are less likely than other groups to have a religious affiliation, and just 15% say they attend religious services weekly or more, by far the lowest share of any typology group.

Key beliefs, Solid Liberals


Originally published by Pew Research Center with permission.

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