Much of this polling and survey work has been backed up by novel research from the University of Virginia.
UVA researchers have used a massive online survey to show that conservatives better understand the ideas of liberals than vice versa. The results are described in a new book by UVA researcher Jonathan Haidt, “Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
The book uses a variety of data to argue that conservatives have a balanced set of moral intuitions, while liberals are focused on aiding victims, fairness and individual liberty. Conservatives recognize how liberals think because they share those intuitions, but liberals don’t understand how conservatives think because they don’t recognize conservatives’ additional intuitions about loyalty, authority and sanctity, Haidt argues.
The academics’ work is also being backed up by commercial research into the tastes and political views of potential customers.
For example, researchers have learned that Internet sites offering financial information, sports scores, online-auctions attract far more interest from Republicans than from Democrats, according to a 2010 study by National Media Research, Planning and Placement, based in Alexandria, Va.
In contrast, Democrats outnumber Republicans at online dating sites, job-searches sites, online TV and online video-game sites, said the firm.
This commercial data-analysis is often used by companies to identify and attract customers. For example, the firm also conducted a study of chain restaurants’ customers, which concluded that the customers of Popeyes, White Castle, Dunkin’ Donuts and Chuck E Cheese were mostly Democratic, while the customers at Cracker Barrel, Chik-fil-A, Panera and Bob Evans were mostly Republican.
The same restaurants study showed that the customers at Cracker Barrel, Panera and Bob Evans were the most likely to vote in elections.