YLSNED: Defining a political class

Yesterday I was looking over Rasmussen’s poll regarding the tea parties. According to that poll, 51% of Americans think it’s OK to voice an opinion on America’s growing taxation problem. (Survey is +/- 3 with a 95% confidence.) I think that’s great. It’s America, for goodness sake, have an opinion!

Reading the text, I found this:

While half the nation has a favorable opinion of last Wednesday’s events, the nation’s Political Class has a much dimmer view—just 13% of the political elite offered even a somewhat favorable assessment while 81% said the opposite. Among the Political Class, not a single survey respondent said they had a Very Favorable opinion of the events while 60% shared a Very Unfavorable assessment.

What’s the Political Class?

I have a degree in political science. I defined a few terms in my day. I didn’t remember this one, so I did a little research. My instincts told me it might be that group of people who are tied to the government through a paycheck or by marriage – those from either side of the political aisle who have something to lose if things change. I was close, but not quite.

Rasmussen has been a leader in fronting this new term. It looks like there have been six entries since March using the phrase. The first one puts forward:

From time-to-time, Rasmussen Reports will release data highlighting the gap between Mainstream America and the Political Class on issues of the day.

Preliminary results indicate that 55% of Americans can be classified on the populist or Mainstream side of the divide. Only seven percent (7%) side with the Political Class. When leaners are included, 75% lean in the Mainstream direction and 14% lean the other way.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of those on the populist side of the debate are Republicans, 36% are Democrats, and 27% are not affiliated with either major party.

Twenty-two percent (22%) of government employees are aligned with the Political Class along with just four percent (4%) of private sector workers.

It’s a new way of defining us vs. them. Will it stick? Look at the even division of Democrats, Republicans and non-affiliated among those labeled populist. Adding a Political Class provides a fourth and growing component that’s going to keep America really divided.

I’ve pretty much given up on the Republican party. What intrigues me now is the idea of the Political Class and the Populist majority. Will we rise up in rebellion to those Political Class members demanding to grow the government’s power?

For more reading, here’s a Wall Street Journal article on Rasmussen’s new term. Also, this June 2005 paper on Western Europe was interesting.


  1. Ummnnnhhhh….no wonder Limbaugh keeps harping about “not going 3rd-Party”…