Report

The 2005 Political Typology: Beyond Red vs. Blue

  • May 11, 2005
This installment of the Pew Research Center's Political Typology finds significant cleavages within both major parties that go well beyond the familiar red-blue divide. The in-depth polling identifies challenges for both parties with their core constituencies and with voters in the middle of the electorate.

Coming out of the 2004 election, the political landscape decidedly favored the Republican Party. However, there is no assurance that the GOP will be able to build upon this advantage. Republicans have neither gained nor lost in party identification in 2005. Moreover, there are substantial divisions within the Republican coalition over economic and domestic issues, as well as the role of government, all of which could loom larger in the future given the increasing salience of these matters.

The Democratic Party faces its own, equally formidable, difficulties. Its constituencies are more diverse and, while united in opposition to President Bush, the Democrats are fractured by differences over social and personal values.

These are among the conclusions of the 2005 Political Typology, which sorts voters into homogeneous groups based on values, political beliefs, and party affiliation. The current study is based on two public opinion surveys - a nationwide poll of 2,000 interviews conducted Dec. 1-16, 2004 and a subsequent re-interview of 1,090 respondents conducted March 17-27 of this year.

This is the fourth such typology developed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press since 1987. Many of the groups identified in the current surveys are similar to those in past typologies, reflecting the continuing importance of a number of key beliefs and values. These themes endure despite the consequential events of the past four years--especially the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq. The 2005 Political Typology includes three GOP-oriented groups, three Democratic-leaning groups, and two main groups in the center.

As part of the release of the 2005 Political Typology, the Pew Research Center created an interactive Web site where users can find out where they fit in the Political Typology, and to see how the various typology groups feel about major issues of the day. The special Web site can be found at www.typology.people-press.org.