I like to watch/listen to CSPAN while I write and search the Web, especially the weekend Book TV. Around midnight, as September 17 slid into 18 this year (2016), Alan Taylor was talking about his book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. He referenced John Adams’ 1815 letter which introduced the rule of thirds for the American Revolution “I should say that full one third were averse to the revolution…. An opposite third… gave themselves up to an enthusiastic gratitude to France. The middle third,… always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France;….” (although he was writing about American views on the French Revolution instead of our own Revolutionary War).
Alan Taylor, based on his research, believes that the Colonists were one fifth loyalists, two fifth Revolutionaries, and two fifths in the middle. At the time, Colonist population was 2.5 million, a fifth of whom, 500,000, or 20%, were slaves.
The day before, Bill Clinton on the September 15, 2016 The Daily show mentioned a 40% Democrats, 40% Republicans, 20% independent breakdown, at least historically. “…For most of my life, each political party has a 40% base and then there were 20% that were genuinely were up for grabs. By the time the 2000 race came along, Between Al Gore and President George W Bush, it was probably down to 10%. It may be down to less now because we’re getting siloed.”
Some other numbers which may be revealing.
“According to polls on February 27, 2006, two weeks after the accident [shooting Harry Whittington], Dick Cheney’s approval rating had dropped 5 percentage points to 18%.
To the end of the Watergate scandal, 24% of Americans supported Nixon.
In the 2016 election about 117 million eligible voters didn’t vote. Of the 241 million people eligible to vote only 200 million registered. 51 to 52%, a bare majority of voters voted this time. By Thursday, Clinton had 59,938,290 votes nationally to Trump’s 59,704,886, or 233,404 more, the fifth time a candidate won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. Neither candidate got 50%: around 47.7% for Clinton and 47.5% for Trump.
Half of the eligible voters didn’t vote and those that did vote are split about equally just shy of a majority. Less than a quarter of the electorate are for Trump, less than a quarter are for Clinton, and half didn’t vote.
These are some of the patterns of American political demographics I see.