It’s Not Ideology

… I saw a couple of people note this on twitter, but you shouldn’t miss this from yesterday’s NYT look at polarization in one Georgia House district. It’s a good article, but the kicker is the must-read:

“Mr. Tripcony, the surveyor, said he underwent heart surgery not long ago without health insurance, ‘a bad blow.’ He has been making payments against the cost. He had heard of the online marketplace for insurance that opened on Oct. 1 under the Affordable Care Act. ‘I just don’t trust it,’ said Mr. Tripcony, who has an equal distrust of President Obama. ‘I don’t like him, and I don’t feel comfortable with anything he’s got to do with.’ Mr. Tripcony said he had a better idea for a system to provide health care at a fair price. ‘I think it should be the same for everybody,’ he said. ‘One big company, whether owned by the government or private.’  Informed that he had described the single-payer system that Mr. Obama abandoned when Republican critics called it socialized medicine, he said, ‘Yeah, I know, it’s crazy.'” …

The thing is, and this really is a challenge both for survey research and for larger interpretations of what’s going on, is that under the conditions that most elites express their partisanship in ideological, rather than partisan, language, then mass publics are going to learn to give “ideological” answers to political questions. But this is a perfect example of how this is all just on the surface. [cont.]

Jonathan Bernstein, A plain blog about politics