… Michael Barber and Jeremy C. Pope, political scientists at Brigham Young University, reported in their recent paper “Does Party Trump Ideology? Disentangling Party and Ideology in America,” that many Republican voters are:
malleable to the point of innocence, and self-reported expressions of ideological fealty are quickly abandoned for policies that — once endorsed by a well-known party leader — run contrary to that expressed ideology.
Those most willing to adjust their positions on ten issues ranging from abortion to guns to taxes are firm Republicans, Trump loyalists, self-identified conservatives and low information Republicans.
The Barber-Pope study suggests that for many Republicans partisan identification is more a tribal affiliation than an ideological commitment.
Many partisans are, in effect, more aligned with the leader of their party than with the principles of the party. (Although Barber and Pope confined their study to Republicans, they note that Democrats may “react in similar ways given the right set of circumstances.”)
President Trump’s ability to slide his supporters to the left or right will face a major challenge if he lives up to what Democratic congressional leaders described on Wednesday night as the beginnings of an agreement to prevent the deportation of nearly 800,00 undocumented young immigrants and to strengthen border security without building a wall. CONT.
Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times