On-line Survey

Looking for insights into (er, questions about) the Republican Brain

Automatically believing Brett Kavanaugh and invalidating the account of Christine Blasey-Ford. Taking aim at the protection of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Ideas like this are appalling to many progressives, people who pride themselves in taking a rational approach to problem-solving.

But those of us who are appalled by these Republican ideas have to keep in mind a couple of things:

  1. We are hardly a majority. Just this morning, a Wall Street Journal / NBC poll reveals that Donald Trump’s approval rating has jumped to 47%. For most of his term, he has lingered below 40%.
  2. The Republican views will not magically go away. While I have advocated a possible solution being that schools must focus much more on critical thinking and empathy rather than test scores, that idea is somewhat hollow because so many teachers have Republican leanings (even if they below to unions) and they have very different ideas of critical thinking and empathy.
  3. Even if progressives are more interested in learning about how Republicans think than vice-versa, we still are largely at a loss.

In an effort to advance the progressives’ understanding of conservatives to the point where we can possibly move the needle towards our version of critical thinking, etc., Occasional Planet is commissioning a series for public opinion surveys. Each one will hopefully give us greater understanding and also raise a new level of questions. We’ll keep pursuing.

On Thursday, October 18, we sent a survey to a random selection of 239 Americans. This has some statistical significance, obviously not as much as a survey of more than 1,000 respondents. You can see the entirety of the results by clicking here.

In this and coming posts, we will analyze findings and raise new questions. We will try not to overload readers with data; we too belong to the “short attention data club.”

One of the questions that we asked was, “Who do you trust most to protect your interests?” The choices were (a) The federal government, (b) My state government and (c) My local government.

Here are the results:

51% said their local government

29% said their state government

20% said the federal government

Just to clarify, the party breakdown of the survey sample was:

13% Strong Republican

17% Moderate Republican

28% Independent

14% Moderate Democrat

19% Strong Democrat

So, the sample leaned slightly more Democrat than Republican.

But here is our “key finding” and question of the day:

Of those who most trusted the federal government, 50% were strong Republicans while only 26% were strong Democrats.

We normally associate strong Democrats (progressives) with support of the federal government. After all, the New Deal, Great Society and most of the other fabric of the social and economic safety net comes from the federal government. So, why is it that in our survey, there is greater trust in the federal government from strong Republicans than strong Democrats.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us by clicking here.