Up | March 09, 2013
>>> hello from new york. i'm chris hayes . here with former missouri state senator, congressional date jeff smith , tim carney , and a paper that chris has authored about the way state legislative candidates perceive the perceptions of the voters in their district. particularly on issues like health care and gay marriage . and the way they systematically overestimate it. conservatives do it by a ton. i think there's a great line in the paper that fully half of the conservative republican candidates that you interviewed, fully, half of them, think that their district is more conservative than the most conservative in the country. half of them think they're representing a district that is more conservative than the most conservative district in the country. we talked about the possible reasons. and i want to talk about the donor class. i know having been around people that run for office. if you spend all your day talking with a certain kind of person with a certain set of beliefs, that's going to bleed into you. whether you go work at a big law firm or end up at cable news company, whatever it is your piers have a big effect. and washington, people i know have done it, it's stunning how much time is spent around donors. larry bartel has done research. support for wealthy. statement, our government could redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich. 52% of the general public agree with that. which is a lefty sounding like. 52% of the people polled agree. 17% of the wealthy agree, right? so one thing that may be happening here is just a systematic skew bias of the donor class?
>> yeah, that's interesting. we tested the welfare reform . we ask how many constituents would support abolishment of welfare reform . the mean was about 30. among the conservatives it was up around 45 or 50. even though the districts vary in how conservative they are, very few of them are actually up at 50% on that issue.
>> i've got to be skeptical of that idea on the donor. i can see it definitely drawing democrats towards the center in the right direction.
>> but you see it again and again, republicans on social issues and economic issues getting drawn towards the center on donor. gay marriage , abortion, the wealthy donors are not the bible-thump evangelicals. drug companies , all those guys want to set up the exchanges. it happens again and again, where the increase in government, the republican donor class is pushing the republicans away from free markets and towards the corporatism in the middle.
>> the ceos are pushing the house republicans towards the middle.
>> i think we're distinguishing certain issues, right?
>> right. talking about issues of welfare, and safety net programs as opposed to corporate models. if you look at what schaaping with donor investment in, say, organizing and in communities and at state level, democrats haven't been doing it. and their donors haven't been doing it. on the same time, in the conservative time there's lots building going into the building the infrastructure.
>> particularly at the state level.
>> particularly at the state level. it's smart strategy to invest in local level policy. democrats haven't been doing that and republicans haven't been doing that.
>> tim, if we can throw up the same-sex marriage line graph . i think you're right, my prediction on the donor class skew would say there's less than same-sex that's actually placing the donor class to the left of the republican base and yet, the skew shows up. so that is sort of a rebuttal to my donor class area.
>> so, chris, to your point that politicians will tend to incorporate of the views of the politicians around all time. i think there's another perspective. numerous social psychologists , political scientists , even business school professors who have studied the differences between conservatives and liberals have found pretty consistently that republicans tend to be more sure of their views. liberals tend to be more unsure. conservatives tend to be less compromising. liberals tend to be more amenable to compromising. the way that manifests itself, conservatives would like to speak to their base all the time. and liberals want to persuade people in the middle or on the right of their position which would skew their views of the electorate.
>> i certainly never try to speak to a liberal audience, i know that.
>> all you do is talk to your base.
>> i have an anecdote here. we had a group outside of detroit. one of the issues that came up was right to work. it's interesting because it's michigan, because of strong union history, there's union support, kind of across the political spectrum --
>> meaning a conservative view.
>> you have conservative union members that actually feel like the right to organize is quite important.
>> so when governor snyder had one long conversation with the head of amway. and decided to move in a lame duck session on the right to work law against the promise that he had made. you know, it was interesting to see these white men who are relatively conservative politically, i can say listening to him for hours, really kind of -- off at snyder.
>> it seems to be maladapted at the national level. the 46% problem. which is the idea if you're at the national level, it's hard to be that out of the step with where the actual public is and get elected. i think we saw that a little bit in the national election with mitt romney . i think there's a conception that some of the views he took, particularly in the primary were more popular, more broadly, than they actually were in the actual electorate. and that ended up being a real political liability running nor national office. i think that's not the case in the districts. i think it does end up being maladapted at the national level to being wrong conservative how they are.
>> there's something about a guy like chris christie out of step with new jerseyans on gay marriage and funding, and yet he's able to retain his popularity. part of that is due to sandy, but that's an interesting case case.
>> but does our democracy work? not to ask too profound a question, but the basic representation? is it actually working is there a correlation between public opinion and public policy , i want us to answer that in six or seven minutes right after this break. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the