“How big is the gap between the donor class and ordinary Americans? Bigger than you think.”

Sean McElwee, Jesse Rhodes, and Brian Schaffner for Monkey Cage:

Across the board, we find that donors as a group are more partisan than non-donors who share their party affiliation. For example, Democratic donors were 10 percentage points more supportive of the 2009 stimulus package than were non-donors, although both groups were supportive of the key Obama administration effort. Across all the issues, Democratic donors were on average 7 percentage points more likely to take the liberal position than non-donors.

The gaps were even larger for Republicans. The average gap between donors and non-donors was 23 percentage points. For example, 55 percent of Republicans who didn’t donate supported the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but just 26 percent of Republican donors did. Republican donors were more consistently opposed to the Obama agenda than Republican non-donors.

These findings are consistent with a story of asymmetric polarization, in which Republican elites have moved further to the right than Democratic elites have moved to the left.


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