Political Class is a voter category originally created by American pollster and demographer Scott Rasmussen. These voters tend to trust political leaders more than the mainstream public at large and are far less skeptical about government. In his book, In Search of Self-Governance, Rasmussen explains it like this:
|“||In the clique that revolves around Washington, DC, and Wall Street, our treasured heritage has been diminished almost beyond recognition. In that world, some see self-governance as little more than allowing voters to choose which of two politicians will rule over them. Others in that elite environment are even more brazen and see self-governance as a problem to be overcome.||”|
Over time, Rasmussen found that those with Mainstream views often have a very different perspective from those who support the Political Class. In many cases, the gap between the Mainstream view and the Political Class is larger than the gap between Mainstream Republicans and Democrats.
Initially, Rasmussen Reports labeled the groups Populist and Political Class. However, despite the many news stories referring to populist anger over bailouts and other government actions, the labels created confusion for some. In particular, some equated populist attitudes with the views of the late-19th century Populist Party. To avoid that confusion, and since a majority clearly hold skeptical views about the ruling elites, they now label the groups Mainstream and Political Class.
The questions used to calculate the Index are:
-- Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more - the American people or America’s political leaders?
-- Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?
-- Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?
To create a scale, each response earns a plus 1 for the populist answer, a minus 1 for the political class answer, and a 0 for not sure.
Those who score 2 or higher are considered a populist or part of the Mainstream. Those who score -2 or lower are considered to be aligned with the Political Class. Those who score +1 or -1 are considered leaners in one direction or the other.
Mainstream American Voters
Mainstream Americans tend to trust the wisdom of the crowd more than their political leaders and are skeptical of both big government and big business.