Independents are Young Extremist, Democrats Trust the Press, and Republicans Give to Charity More Often - Copernicus Study Profiles Members of Major Political Parties

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Copernicus shares results of analysis of members of the three major political parties. The Copernicus study found individuals who self-identify themselves as Democrats, Independents, and Republicans differ significantly on several demographic characteristics, as well as attitudes and beliefs about different issues.

While Senator John Kerry, consumer activist Ralph Nader, and incumbent President Bush continue to hammer home how they as individuals differ from each other, what characteristics, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs separate average-Joe members of the three major political parties?

Using data culled from a recent National Opinion Research Center(NORC)-Roper’s General Social Survey, Copernicus Marketing Consulting and Research, a Newton, Massachusetts-based firm specializing in the development, planning, and execution of transformational marketing strategies, investigated the differences between American adults who self-identify themselves as Independent, Democratic, and Republican. Interestingly, Copernicus discovered those who describe themselves as “Independent” held the most extreme position on many social issues and was the youngest by far, with significantly larger proportion of members falling in the 18-29 age bracket and only 17% falling in the 60+ age bracket.

The study, based on interviews with a national probability sample of more than 2500 men and women over the age of 18, found that more self-identified Independents support the legalization of marijuana and making birth control available to 14-16-year-olds, believe it’s OK to live together if not married, and say it should be easier to get a divorce. In spite of their far left-stance on these issues, a majority of Independents support the death penalty. Because the group skews younger, it has the lowest average annual household income of the three parties at $43,000 and, subsequently, the lowest levels of satisfaction with their financial situation. Perhaps a reflection of their frustration with the status quo, fewer Independents believe they have a good chance to improve their standard of living compared to the other parties and are much less religious.

For their part, self-identified Democrats are a more diverse group with the highest percentage of female and non-white members. A majority report little confidence in the executive branch of the government, but more Democrats than Independents and Republicans have confidence in the press. Members tend to be pro-union and pro-environment, and overwhelmingly believe women should have paid maternity leave. For all of their liberal positions, surprisingly Democrats are almost as likely as their Republican counterparts to believe in using spanking to discipline a child.

Republicans generally fit the stereotype of their party: the vast majority is white and the group has the highest average annual household income of $54,000. Members of this self-identified group are more likely to favor increased defense spending and agree that men are better suited for politics than women. Strongly religious, Republicans are also more likely to have a gun in their home, and believe in the death penalty. Satisfied with their work and more comfortable with their financial situation than their counterparts, Republicans donate more to charities than either Democrats or Independents.

See attached table for complete results.

About Study Methodology

Data used in this analysis came from more than 2500 respondents to the NORC-Roper General Social Survey. Copernicus identified the key variables that differentiated the three groups using one-way analyses of variance. Using these results, the company discovered a variety of variables, both attitudinal and demographic, which clearly differ across the three groups.

All variables shown in this profile differ across the three groups at a confidence level of at least 95 percent. With most of these variables, the confidence level exceeds 99 percent.

About Copernicus    

Copernicus is in the business of transforming companies. The firm offers state-of-the-science consulting, research, and modeling tools to help develop, plan, and implement marketing strategies that change brand trajectories, career paths, even entire companies and sometimes industries. Led by marketing pioneers Dr. Kevin J. Clancy and Peter C. Krieg, the firm has transformed the marketing programs of major corporations and emerging businesses around the world. For more information, visit Copernicus’ award-winning website


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