Conservatives in America have always outnumbered the liberal population, but according to a recent Gallup survey, that number is shrinking as the number of liberal Americans is rising.
Since the 1990’s, more Americans have leaned conservative rather than liberal.
In 2016, that statistic is still true, with 36% identifying as conservative vs. 25% identifying as liberals, but back in the 90’s, the number of liberals was only at 17 %.
The Gallup survey is based on telephone interviews from 17 separate Gallup polls conducted in 2016, with a random sample of 17,055 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The poll found that many Americans still call themselves conservatives, over moderate or liberal. However, the liberal percentage has been growing and the amount of people who were once called moderates are now shrinking.
According to a Gallup article discussing the survey, there are a few possible reasons for this change;
“Democratic focus of this change represents a hardening of political polarization between the two major parties. With most Republicans already identifying as conservative and more Democrats identifying as liberal, the parties are moving further apart ideologically. The most obvious implication of this after the 2016 election is that the parties may increasingly nominate candidates who are wholly unacceptable to the opposing party.
Additionally, it may be affecting the ideological bent of Americans’ representatives in Congress and the pressure these leaders face from their constituents to adhere to conservative versus liberal orthodoxy.
On the other hand, if the term “liberal” is simply growing in public acceptance, the shift could be more a matter of semantics than a paradigm change. People who once opted for the word “moderate” may be more willing to call themselves “liberal” even if their views on the issues are the same.”
The article points out that with Americans now accepting more, once liberal concepts, like gay marriage, legalized marijuana, and death penalty opposition, the shift from moderate to a more liberal position might be based on the changing perspectives.
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