Political perception vs. reality.

Like I said, the Pew survey was rich with material, so back to it I go.  All along I had planned my second post on the matter to discuss the fact that Hillary Clinton is seen as the most liberal of the Democrats despite being the most conservative of the leading contenders by any objective measure.  Though there's a chart that nicely summarized the data, what I like about this table is that it breaks things down by party. 

Whereas Democrats (wrongly) see Hillary as modestly more liberal than Obama and Edwards, Republicans see Hillary as a virtual communist in comparison.  We already know that most Republicans today do not live in the real world (as clearly evidenced by the fact that a majority of them still seem to delude themselves that George Bush is doing a good job as president), but it is really quite interesting this pathology when it comes to Hillary Clinton.  I'm tempted to play around with some National Election Study data and see just what's going on (but I probably won't since I should actually be crunching numbers for articles to publish rather than blog posts).  I think to a considerable degree, to be a conservative bugaboo is to be an extreme liberal, facts be damned.  Maybe the more Fox news says bad things about you the more liberal Republicans think you are.  It is a well-established fact in political science that most ordinary folks just don't get it all that well when it comes to ideology.  My own theory is that the perceived ideology of political candidates is based much more on symbolism than on any particular issue positions they take. 

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