According to a new Gallup Survey, 2011 marks the third straight year that conservatives have outnumbered moderates, after more than a decade in which moderates mainly tied or outnumbered conservatives. The specific findings were these: 40 percent of Americans continue to describe their views as conservative, 35 percent as moderate, and 21 percent as liberal.
Some additional findings:
The percentage of Americans calling themselves “moderate” has gradually diminished in the U.S. since it was 43 percent in 1992.
The majority of Republicans say they are either very conservative or conservative, but the total proportion of conservatives grew 10 percentage points between 2002 and 2010, from 62 percent to 72 percent.
The percentage of Republicans who say they are moderates fell from 31 percent to 23 percent.
Relatively few Republicans say they are liberal — just 4 percent in 2011. Republicans’ ideology largely held at the 2010 levels in 2011.
As for Democrats, as recently as 2002, the solid plurality of Democrats were “moderate,” while smaller, but nearly equal, percentages called themselves “liberal” and “conservative.” From 2003 through 2007, however, the liberal share of the party grew to 38 percent, while the “moderate” and “conservative” percentages each diminished somewhat. As a result, from 2007 through 2011, the party has consisted of equal percentages of moderates and liberals, at about 38 percent to 40 percent, while about 20 percent have called themselves conservative. (The current figures are 39 percent liberal, 38 percent moderate, and 20 percent conservative.)
As for independents, who make up the largest political group in the country, they have been steadier ideologically than either major party group during the last decade. However, since 2008, the proportion describing themselves as moderate has declined slightly, from 46 percent to 41 percent, and the proportion who are conservative has increased slightly, from 30 percent to 35 percent.
Currently, the largest segment of independents (41 percent) describe their views as moderate, while significantly more identify as conservative than as liberal (35 percent vs. 20 percent).
The bottom line for Gallup? “In recent years, conservatives have become the single largest [ideological] group, consistently outnumbering moderates since 2009 and outnumbering liberals by 2-to-1.”
All of which underscores the fact that conservatism, during the age of Obama, remains the dominant ideology in America.
It turns out there’s nothing like a liberal president to help the standing of conservatism.