Why U.S. Politicians Think Americans Are So Conservative When They're Not

March 4, 2013 | The Atlantic Wire |

Does it matter whether or not America is actually a "center-right" country, as conservatives argue, if its elected leaders think it is? Or is the only factor that matters the size of a voter's bank account?

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For liberals, the news gets worse. Last week, Reuter's Chrystia Freeland, author of 2012's Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Elsedissected another recent study (from the progressive organization Demos) suggesting that lower- and middle-income voters' political views are underrepresented in politics.

The Demos study draws in part on the quantitative research of Martin Gilens, a professor of politics at Princeton University and author of “Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.” Gilens, who focused on the divide between the top 10 percent and everyone else, found a high degree of what he calls political inequality.