Conservatives: Far From Dead

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 15, 2009

Despite claims that the United States has swung to the Left, and that we are in for decades of liberal dominance in our national politics, actual poll results reveal that conservatives are doing quite well, thank you very much:

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.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

conservatives-in-2009

In addition to all of this, we learn that conservatism outnumbers liberalism in both genders. The interesting thing to do is to poll on individual questions and see how respondents do in terms of identifying with a particular ideology. Still, I do not expect that dramatic a variance with numbers that are quite clearly a delight to behold if one is a conservative, and if one wishes to see conservatives make electoral comebacks across the country.

  • bdomenech

    One of the interesting things I'd like to break down here is how much of that conservative/very conservative 40% considers themselves in the Republican Party, and how many of them are really conservative Democrats. Crosstabs, anyone?

  • redneck_hippie

    When I see conservative as a poll result, I wonder how they break down by party affiliation, too. Probably lots of Huckabee “conservatives” still out there.

  • bdomenech

    Exactly. Cuts both ways. For example, I bet Heath Shuler would answer this as being a conservative (which he is on abortion, guns, marriage).

  • redneck_hippie

    When I see conservative as a poll result, I wonder how they break down by party affiliation, too. Probably lots of Huckabee “conservatives” still out there.

  • http://newledger.com Ben Domenech

    Exactly. Cuts both ways. For example, I bet Heath Shuler would answer this as being a conservative (which he is on abortion, guns, marriage).

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