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sugarkang 12-13-2011 04:23 PM

Liberalism's problem in one graph


Here's an idea. Since "liberal" is a dirty word, why not have all Democrats renounce it and adopt "progressive" or "social democrat"? The "liberal" label should belong to a political party that believes in freedom and isn't afraid to be called liberal.

Don Zeko 12-13-2011 06:24 PM

Re: Liberalism's problem in one graph
I'm not sure that this is showing what Ezra thinks it's showing. After all, people that think that Big Labor is the biggest threat to the country are probably about as operationally conservative as people that think that Big Government is the biggest threat. So in 1965, you have a combined 64% of people saying either labor or government is the biggest threat and 17% pointing to Big Business. And today, that number has shifted all the way to 72% pointing to government or labor and 26% worried about business. If there's an interesting story here, it's that people are (correctly) becoming less worried about the prospect of excessively powerful unions as labor declines without the partisan nature of these responses actually changing that much.

Don Zeko 12-13-2011 06:27 PM

Re: Liberalism's problem in one graph
I guess my other big reaction to this would be to wonder what exactly is going through people's minds in 2002. I mean, in 2009 you've got a spike in concern about business and a decrease in concern about government that matches up pretty well with the popular and legislatively productive first year or so of the Obama Administration. But in 2002, you see an even larger spike, with concern over big business almost overtaking concern about big government. That suggests that either something funky was going on in 2002, or that this poll question isn't the best indicator of how likely liberal policies are to be well-received by the public.

chiwhisoxx 12-13-2011 09:26 PM

Re: Liberalism's problem in one graph
I think the nature of this graph is stupid. it kind of implies that you should either be worried about big gov't, big labor or big business. these are not mutually exclusive concerns, and while the question does use the word "biggest" (to imply several of them could be a problem) I'm guessing a lot of people didn't make the distinction. as far as I'm concerned, one of the most important lessons from the Obama administration is being able to see all three of these as intertwined.

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