The Economist’s Democracy in America blog has an interesting article on tribal responses to poll results in the US. If a self-identified member of the Republican Party is questioned about, say, ‘the Republican Policy on Iraq’ then the respondent will usually agree with the policy. If, however, they are simply told the policy without it being linked to their party and asked if they agree or disagree they are far more likely to disagree.
The phenomenon can also be observed in self-identified Democrats but appears to be far more prevalent in the GOP faithful.
You can, however, see a Democratic variant of this – there have been numerous polls showing that significant numbers of Clinton/Obama supporters will not vote for their nominees adversary in the Presidential election and will instead cast their vote for John McCain.
This is pretty staggering when you consider that Obama and Clinton have virtually identical policies (like getting out of Iraq right away) while a McCain government will be very different (stay 100 years).
This is also pretty widespread on the NZ blogosphere – I always enjoy seeing apologists for the major parties defending their political masters when they make policy announcements that are wildly out of step with the parties ideology – John Key’s $1.5 billion in funding for a national broadband infrastructure being a prime example.