Gallup:Conservatives Are Single-Largest Ideological Group

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Gallup:Conservatives Are Single-Largest Ideological Group

Post by racehorse » 06-15-2009 10:38 AM

http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/Conse ... sion=print

June 15, 2009

Conservatives Are Single-Largest Ideological Group

Percentage of liberals higher this decade than in early


by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.


These annual figures are based on multiple national Gallup surveys conducted each year, in some cases encompassing more than 40,000 interviews. The 2009 data are based on 10 separate surveys conducted from January through May. Thus, the margins of error around each year's figures are quite small, and changes of only two percentage points are statistically significant.

To measure political ideology, Gallup asks Americans to say whether their political views are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal. As has been the case each year since 1992, very few Americans define themselves at the extremes of the political spectrum. Just 9% call themselves "very conservative" and 5% "very liberal." The vast majority of self-described liberals and conservatives identify with the unmodified form of their chosen label.

Party-Based Ideology

There is an important distinction in the respective ideological compositions of the Republican and Democratic Parties. While a solid majority of Republicans are on the same page -- 73% call themselves conservative -- Democrats are more of a mixture. The major division among Democrats is between self-defined moderates (40%) and liberals (38%). However, an additional 22% of Democrats consider themselves conservative, much higher than the 3% of Republicans identifying as liberal.

True to their nonpartisan tendencies, close to half of political independents -- 45% -- describe their political views as "moderate." Among the rest, the balance of views is tilted more heavily to the right than to the left: 34% are conservative, while 20% are liberal.

Gallup trends show a slight increase since 2008 in the percentages of all three party groups calling themselves "conservative," which accounts for the three percentage-point increase among the public at large.

Thus far in 2009, Gallup has found an average of 36% of Americans considering themselves Democratic, 28% Republican, and 37% independent. When independents are pressed to say which party they lean toward, 51% of Americans identify as Democrats, 39% as Republicans, and only 9% as pure independents.

Ideological tendencies by leaned party affiliation are very similar to those of straight partisan groups. However, it is worth noting the views of pure independents -- a group usually too small to analyze in individual surveys but potentially important in deciding elections. Exactly half of pure independents describe their views as moderate, 30% say they are conservative, and 17% liberal.

As reported last week on Gallup.com, women are more likely than men to be Democratic in their political orientation. Along the same lines, women are more likely than men to be ideologically "moderate" and "liberal," and less likely to be "conservative."

Still, conservatism outweighs liberalism among both genders.

The pattern is strikingly different on the basis of age, and this could have important political implications in the years ahead. Whereas middle-aged and older Americans lean conservative (vs. liberal) in their politics by at least 2 to 1, adults aged 18 to 29 are just as likely to say their political views are liberal (31%) as to say they are conservative (30%).

Future Gallup analysis will look at the changes in the political ideology of different age cohorts over time, to see whether young adults in the past have started out more liberal than they wound up in their later years.

Bottom Line

Although the terms may mean different things to different people, Americans readily peg themselves, politically, into one of five categories along the conservative-to-liberal spectrum. At present, large minorities describe their views as either moderate or conservative -- with conservatives the larger group -- whereas only about one in five consider themselves liberal.

While these figures have shown little change over the past decade, the nation appears to be slightly more polarized than it was in the early 1990s. Compared with the 1992-1994 period, the percentage of moderates has declined from 42% to 35%, while the percentages of conservatives and liberals are up slightly -- from 38% to 40% for conservatives and a larger 17% to 21% movement for liberals.

Survey Methods

Results are based on aggregated Gallup Poll surveys of approximately 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, interviewed by telephone. Sample sizes for the annual compilations range from approximately 10,000 to approximately 40,000. For these results, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
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Post by racehorse » 06-15-2009 11:16 AM

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Post by Live365 » 06-15-2009 12:57 PM

Drudge publishes the cable-talk ratings fairly regularly, and I'm always suprised to see O'Reilly, Hannity and Beck pulling in twice the ratings (in the neighborhood of 3 million to 1.5 million) of Olbermann, Matthews and Maddow. It's my personal experience that the country is more liberal-leaning (I often find myself to be the only Conservative in the room!), but the ratings remain consistent, and now here is this.

To be fair, I wonder how much is due to the *lables* to which people are being forced to self-identify. You may be of a more liberal political philosophy over all, but if you're personally opposed to gay marriage or abortion, you may not feel you can consider yourself "Liberal". Just as being pro-marriage equality or pro-choice might make one feel unqualied to identify as a "Conservative". And who's fault is that? The six names in my first paragraph might be a place to start.

Good to see many Americans -- most in this poll, albeit by a slim margin -- see themselves in the Moderate category. Brasses to tacks, I think most of us are.
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Post by racehorse » 10-26-2009 12:06 PM

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/Conse ... sion=print

October 26, 2009

Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group

Compared with 2008, more Americans “conservative” in general, and on issues


by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.

Political Ideology: Annual Trends, 1992-2009

"Changes among political independents appear to be the main reason the percentage of conservatives has increased nationally over the past year: the 35% of independents describing their views as conservative in 2009 is up from 29% in 2008."

The 2009 data are based on 16 separate Gallup surveys conducted from January through September, encompassing more than 5,000 national adults per quarter. Conservatives have been the dominant ideological group each quarter, with between 39% and 41% of Americans identifying themselves as either "very conservative" or "conservative." Between 35% and 37% of Americans call themselves "moderate," while the percentage calling themselves "very liberal" or "liberal" has consistently registered between 20% and 21% -- making liberals the smallest of the three groups.

Independents Inch to the Right

Changes among political independents appear to be the main reason the percentage of conservatives has increased nationally over the past year: the 35% of independents describing their views as conservative in 2009 is up from 29% in 2008. By contrast, among Republicans and Democrats, the percentage who are "conservative" has increased by one point each.

As is typical in recent years, Republicans are far more unified in their political outlook than are either independents or Democrats. While 72% of Republicans in 2009 call their views conservative, independents are closely split between the moderate and conservative labels (43% and 35%, respectively). Democrats are about evenly divided between moderates (39%) and liberals (37%).

Americans Also Moving Right on Some Issues

In addition to the increase in conservatism on this general ideology measure, Gallup finds higher percentages of Americans expressing conservative views on several specific issues in 2009 than in 2008.

*
Perceptions that there is too much government regulation of business and industry jumped from 38% in September 2008 to 45% in September 2009.
*
The percentage of Americans saying they would like to see labor unions have less influence in the country rose from 32% in August 2008 to a record-high 42% in August 2009.
*
Public support for keeping the laws governing the sale of firearms the same or making them less strict rose from 49% in October 2008 to 55% in October 2009, also a record high. (The percentage saying the laws should become more strict -- the traditionally liberal position -- fell from 49% to 44%.)
*
The percentage of Americans favoring a decrease in immigration rose from 39% in June/July 2008 to 50% in July 2009.
*
The propensity to want the government to "promote traditional values" -- as opposed to "not favor any particular set of values" -- rose from 48% in 2008 to 53% in 2009. Current support for promoting traditional values is the highest seen in five years.
*
The percentage of Americans who consider themselves "pro-life" on abortion rose from 44% in May 2008 to 51% in May 2009, and remained at a slightly elevated 47% in July 2009.
*
Americans' belief that the global warming problem is "exaggerated" in the news rose from 35% in March 2008 to 41% in March 2009.

Gallup has not recorded heightened conservatism on all major social and political views held by Americans. For instance, attitudes on the death penalty, gay marriage, the Iraq war, and Afghanistan have stayed about the same since 2008. However, there are no major examples of U.S. public opinion becoming more liberal in the past year. (Gallup's annual trends on healthcare will be updated in November, so those attitudes are not included in this review.)

The conservative shifts discussed here result as much from changes in political independents' views as from changes in Republicans' views. Democrats' views, by contrast, have generally changed only slightly -- either to the conservative or liberal side -- with two exceptions: Gallup finds greater movement in Democrats' views of abortion, which have become more liberal, and their views of labor unions, which have become more conservative.

Bottom Line

Americans are more likely to consider themselves conservative this year than they were in 2008, resulting in conservatives -- now 40% of the American public -- outnumbering moderates for the first time since 2004. While Gallup first documented this trend in June, the finding has been sustained through the third quarter.

Conservatism is most prevalent among Republicans. However, the overall increase in this ideological stance since 2008 comes largely from political independents, among whom 35% say they are conservatives thus far in 2009 -- compared with 29% last year. Independents have also become more conservative on a number of specific policy issues, including government and union power, the role of government relative to promoting values, gun laws, immigration, global warming, and abortion. Republicans, most of whom considered themselves ideologically conservative in 2008, have also grown more conservative on several of these issues this year, while less change is seen among Democrats.

All of this has potentially important implications at the ballot box, particularly for the 2010 midterm elections. The question is whether increased conservatism, particularly among independents, will translate into heightened support for Republican candidates. Right now, it appears it may. Although Gallup polling continues to show the Democratic Party leading the Republican Party in Americans' party identification, that lead has been narrowing since the beginning of the year and now stands at six points, the smallest since 2005. According to Gallup Managing Editor Jeff Jones, "the Democratic-Republican gap is narrowing because more independents now say they lean to the Republican Party." That trend aligns with the recent changes in how independents perceive their own ideology and where they stand on some key issues.

Survey Methods

The 2009 political ideology results reported here are based on 16 aggregated Gallup surveys conducted from January to September 2009. For results based on the total sample of 16,321 national adults, aged 18 and older, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
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Post by Rombaldi » 10-26-2009 03:11 PM

what. absolute. crap.
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Post by Biker » 10-26-2009 03:15 PM

Rombaldi wrote: what. absolute. crap.


That's nailing it right down. Care to expand?

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 10-26-2009 03:18 PM

Far and far more people are indeed calling themselves conservatives or moderates, and the inbetween moderately conservative. Not only in the Gallup poll, but in other polls being done across the country. Heard on PBS regarding this factor, callers also related they too are becoming conservative or moderate. (callers were from numerous states)

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Post by Joolz » 10-26-2009 03:26 PM

It all depends on how those LABELS are DEFINED. Since "liberal" has been defined in recent history as a more or less 'dirty' word, it's no wonder people are reluctant to define themselves that way. I wonder what the results would be if there were no politically charged LABELS used, just questions regarding views and ideology itself that could then be used to categorize according to whatever criteria they used to define these particular labels in the first place. Might be more interesting. And revealing.
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Post by Raggedyann » 10-26-2009 07:43 PM

Then how is it that polls indicate that Obama has a 57% approval rating? I guess none of these folks are ever polled then. OK, someone jump in here and expose my lack of knowledge on how polling works. :)

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Post by Rombaldi » 10-26-2009 10:47 PM

Raggedyann wrote: Then how is it that polls indicate that Obama has a 57% approval rating? I guess none of these folks are ever polled then. OK, someone jump in here and expose my lack of knowledge on how polling works. :)
Well first of all, that poll is 4 months old.. in the political game that's ancient history.. it's interesting to note that in RECENT POLLS, only 20% of those polled call themselves Republicans.

20% of the populace are Limbeckers... and people wonder why the GOP is dying a painful death.
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Post by Biker » 10-26-2009 11:00 PM

September is not four months old. Hold up four fingers then fold down three...got it? One month, right? Good.

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Post by joequinn » 10-27-2009 06:49 AM

All polls are carefully premeditated lies, and this one probably is too. If anything, the Amerikan are far more fascistic in nature than the poll indicates. But even if, for the sake of argument, we accept the poll results as being accurate, what of it? They still reveal that Amerika is basically a fascist country.

The problem for people like myself, who believe that Amerika is an inherently fascist country, is to determine when it became the fascist pest-hole that it is. It is absolutely certain that modern fascism came into being, not in 1933 Germany or in 1922 Italy, but in 1919 Amerika. That much is given. But when did it take over?

Was it on 9/11, when the Bush-Cheney fascist junta murdered more than three thousand people in cold blood? Was it in December of 2000, when the Extreme Court permitted a fascist coup d'etat in Amerika? Was it in November of 1994 when Bill-n-Hill got down on their hands-n-knees to kiss Newt Gingrinch's jackbooted feet? Was it in November of 1981 when the Great Communicator came to power in Amerika with the blessing of all the "good Amerikans?" Was it in November of 1978 when Amerika openly and formally despaired of its future and snarled with joy "Sieg heil!" Or was it in November of 1968, when the Amerikan people suddenly began to think unthinkable thoughts?

The longer that I think on these matters, the farther back I have to go in thought until, eventually, I have to admit that Amerika was settled in the first place by a band of psychopaths/sociopaths who came here in the first place to turn the last great paradise on earth into a fascist pest-hole, centuries before fascism was invented.

Amerika cannot be saved. Why? Because it never could have been saved, because it always was the frigging sewer that it is today. Yes, Amerika has contributed enormously to the culture of the planet, but these contributions were the product of a few individuals, nothing more. The majority of people in this fascist pest-hole never did anything but grab-n-git-while-the-gittin'-is-good. That, in the end, is what Amerikan History is all about.

Which it why, at this point, all that I can do is to snarl with a hideously frigid grin on my face, "let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out!" And the sooner the better too...
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Post by SETIsLady » 10-27-2009 06:49 AM

Biker wrote: September is not four months old. Hold up four fingers then fold down three...got it? One month, right? Good.

Biker
I believe Rom is referring to the article that started this thread, which is dated 6/15/09. Not the second poll, I don't normally look at the date someone posts something if it comes up as a "new" thread.
racehorse wrote: http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/Conse ... sion=print

June 15, 2009

Conservatives Are Single-Largest Ideological Group

Percentage of liberals higher this decade than in early

Last edited by SETIsLady on 10-27-2009 06:55 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by SETIsLady » 10-27-2009 06:51 AM

Joolz wrote: It all depends on how those LABELS are DEFINED. Since "liberal" has been defined in recent history as a more or less 'dirty' word, it's no wonder people are reluctant to define themselves that way. I wonder what the results would be if there were no politically charged LABELS used, just questions regarding views and ideology itself that could then be used to categorize according to whatever criteria they used to define these particular labels in the first place. Might be more interesting. And revealing.
Good point Joolz.

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Post by Live365 » 10-27-2009 08:24 AM

I hate to be pedestrian, but it may be worth the trouble to remind Joe Quinn that if he'd posted something like that on the World Wide Web in any country other than America, it would probably be the last thing he ever did. And the last anyone would ever hear from him.
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