The Pew Research Center has compiled some interesting data about Democrats. Though the “liberal” faction has been growing rapidly and is at its highest level in over 20 years, it still comprises only 34% of Democrats, with 67% describing themselves as “moderate” or “conservative” (strangely lumped together in the study!). The liberals are wealthier, with the more traditional blue collar constituency (including Hispanics) being more conservative.
After the jump, a description of the beliefs and attitudes of liberal Democrats.
From Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, Are the Democrats getting too liberal? – The Washington Post;
While Democrats share many core values, there are a number of ways that liberals differ sharply from the rest of the party and the rest of the country.
First, in-depth Pew Research surveys find that many liberals are cynical about achievement. Most don’t agree with the statement that “people can get ahead if they work hard,” and relatively few fully agree that they admire people who have become rich through hard work.
Second, liberals give low priority to dealing with the budget deficit, a major concern for much of the electorate, and they are the only political segment that expresses majority support for paying higher prices for the sake of the environment.
Third, liberals are also significantly to the left of the rest of the Democratic Party on social issues. Unlike other Democrats, few liberals say prayer is an important part of their lives, most strongly favor same-sex marriage, nearly all support abortion rights, and a majority support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
And fourth, on foreign policy, most liberals reject the idea that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength; unlike other Democrats, a majority would find it acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful as the United States.
On the politically charged issue of the day, economic inequality, majorities of both liberal and more moderate Democrats agree that the government should make a significant effort to shrink the gap between rich and poor and reduce poverty. However, even there, most liberals think that government action can make a big difference, while moderate and conservative Democrats don’t share their optimism.