Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ten Tribes: Where Do You Fit In?

Why do some people vote against their economic self-interest?   Why do "working class" and rural Americans vote for pro-business Republicans?  What accounts for the existence of limousine liberals?  There are, of course, many answers to these questions.  The answers will help us understand how conservatives can gain political ground. 

Core Values drive voters' politics.  Voters are different from each other because they have different core values.  Swing voters, in particular, vote on values, not on policy.  This helps to begin to understand why voters sometimes vote against what would appear to be their self-interest.

Voters' decisions tend to be driven by five Core Values:
  1. Extending opportunity
  2. Working within a community
  3. Achieving independence
  4. Focusing on family
  5. Defending righteousness
Analysts have shown that they can reliably predict how a voter will vote by asking questions that pinpoint the voter's core value.  Voters can be divided into "tribes" on the basis of the core value that tends to have the biggest impact on their voting decisions.  

Spotlight Analysis, a consulting agency, has taken information such as neighborhood details, family sizes, and purchasing behavior, and has grouped nearly every American of voting age — 175 million of us — into 10 "values" tribes [two groups for each of the five core values]. Fellow tribe members may not share the same race or religion, or fall into the same income bracket, but they have common feelings about the issues that transcend politics.

The ten groups are illustrated below:

As you read the description of the groups below, think about where you fit in.

These firebrand voters tend to have little respect for entrepreneurs.  They are keenly interested in government-mediated equalization of opportunity. They are less likely than members of other tribes to be college educated, married or to have children living at home.
The largest of the ten tribes, this crowd consists of uncommitted, independent-minded, idealistic Democrats who have little interest in faith-based living.

Crossing Guards
Members of this community-oriented tribe are motivated by their desire for material success and career satisfaction.

Inner Compasses
These people focus on working within a community and insist on fitness in the physical, moral and financial sense.

Barn Raisers  
This group believes in "playing by the rules" and "keeping promises." They adhere to faith-based living.  They're entrepreneurial and active in community organizations but are ambivalent about government.  Barn Raisers are slightly less likely to have a college education than other swing groups. 
Hearth Keepers
Members of this group tend to focus on family satisfaction and faith, but they resent attempts to politicize these values and are less committed than Barn Raisers. Hearth Keepers resist marketing intrusions into their private lives.

Right Clicks 
Sometimes described as "techno-libertarians", Right Clicks are comfortable with new technology and comprise a Republican-leaning tribe.  They flocked Ross Perot in 1992.  Like their cousins in the tribe of Civic Sentries, Right Clicks are united by their commitment to family.

Civic Sentries
Less rambunctious than the Right Clicks, Civic Sentries tend to worry about safety and economic security. They're described as "righteous, free-market social conservative types who want to protect what they consider U.S. values such as self-reliance."

Stand Pats
Members of this group believe that today's societal trends "menace a lifestyle committed to patriotism, faith, family, community and morality."

Boot Strappers
This is a conservative group committed to individual initiative.  They are "alloyed by a strong belief in a divine hand in human affairs."

In races decided by one or two percentage points, the party that pinpoints a few thousand individual voters in the right places could come out on top.  By understanding how the Core Values motivate voters in each of the ten tribes differently, conservatives can take back the GOP and take back the nation.  If this is, or ever was, a center-right nation, it is because conservatives have a firm grasp on all five core values. In this regard, conservatives have an advantage over liberals.

To which group do you belong?

Update: Do the names of the tribes really fit their description?  Check out the discussion in the comments section.


Ray said...

That's a very impressive post RK. Great job and I'm a hell and barnraiser btw.

suek said...

The names chosen for the groups don't seem to me to be compatible with the descriptions.

"Crossing Guards Members of this tribe are motivated by their desire for material success and career satisfaction."

What does the term Crossing Guard have to do with material success? To me, it's more about following the laws to ensure safety...

These firebrand voters tend to have little respect for entrepreneurs. They are keenly interested in government-mediated equalization of opportunity."

To me, the Resourceful person is _most_ likely to be the entrepreneur. The term and the description simply don't match.

Not going to do all of them. The concept may be valid, but I can't place myself in any of them. They don't fit.

RightKlik said...

Ray: Thanks. I think I'm a Civic Sentry, but of course the categories overlap a little.

suek: I agree. I noticed that too. If there are some glaring problems with the names, it's probably because the names were conceived by Democrats. Spotlight Analysis is a Democrat consulting company. (Good work, bad politics). The term "stand pats" is actually insulting to conservatives. As you noted, the concepts and the descriptions are more useful than the names of the tribes.

For fun, I offer alternative names:

Resourcefuls = Crybabies
Stillwaters = Flaky Whiners

Crossing Gaurds = Community Organizers
Inner Compasses = Granola Crunchers

Stand Pats = Outstanding Patriots

...What do you think?

The other names are actually pretty good, so I'll leave them be.

suek said...

"Boot Strappers
This is a conservative group committed to individual initiative. They are "alloyed by a strong belief in a divine hand in human affairs." "

How do these two fit together? And isn't "alloyed" a word that would be followed by "with" rather than "by"?

An alloy is a mixture...not a plating process...

At any rate...I'd probably be a Stand Pat as well...but although the categories certainly seem to have worked for O, I have a major problem with them.

RightKlik said...

suek: "How do these two fit together?"

I assume it's more a matter of distinguishing this group from those who (a) are committed to the idea of individual initiative but don't believe in the influence of the Divine Hand or (b) are not committed to the idea of individual initiative but do believe in influence of the Divine Hand.

Hello Birdy said...

I am civic sentry.

Good post and good list. It pretty well covers the tribe in existence today.

You might have included a 'plain stupid' category for people who just won't take time to learn anything.

Also a 'lazy' category which is self-explanatory.

RightKlik said...

HB: Good points. The lazy dumb masses have gotten us into more trouble than anyone else.