Gallup Poll: Conservatives Outnumber Moderates

Monday, 26 Oct 2009 10:41 AM

By Dan Weil

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A new Gallup poll shows that conservatives outnumber moderates for the first time since 2004.

Gallup’s breakdown shows that 40 percent of Americans call their political views conservative, 36 percent moderate and 20 percent liberal. Last year, conservatives were tied with moderates at 37 percent. While Gallup first documented this trend in June, the finding has been sustained through the third quarter.

So what put conservatives into the lead? Independents, apparently. Now, 35 percent of them are self-proclaimed conservatives, up from 29 percent last year. Meanwhile, the portion of independents who call themselves moderate dipped to 43 percent from 46 percent.

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Among Republicans, 72 percent now call themselves conservative, up from 71 percent last year. Among Democrats, 22 percent now call themselves conservative, up from 21 percent in 2008.

Gallup also discovered that Americans have turned more conservative on specific issues. For example, perceptions that there is too much government regulation of business rose to 45 percent this year from 38 percent last year.

These findings would seem to bode well for Republicans in the 2010 elections. “The question is whether increased conservatism, particularly among independents, will translate into heightened support for Republican candidates,” Gallup points out.

“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.”

That trend stems from the increasing number of independents who now lean Republican, Gallup says.

A Real Clear Politics compilation of polls by ABC/The Washington Post, Rasmussen Reports, CBS and Gallup shows that on average Democrats have a lead of 45 percent to 39.5 percent over Republicans in next year’s congressional races.

That data comes on the heels of an August Gallup poll that shows self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in America.

According to that survey, more than 160,000 respondents in Gallup polls conducted From January to June 2009 have described themselves as either “conservative” (31 percent) or “very conservative” (9 percent) – for a total of 40 percent.

At the same time, 16 percent identified themselves as “liberal” while 5 percent described themselves as “very liberal – for a total of 21 percent.

According to Gallup, liberals lag behind conservatives on a statewide level, and conservatives have big margins in all but three states.

“Conservatives outnumber liberals by statistically significant margins in 47 of the 50 states, with the two groups statistically tied in Hawaii, Vermont, and Massachusetts,” reported a Gallup analysis.

“In fact, while all 50 states are, to some degree, more conservative than liberal (with the conservative advantage ranging from 1 to 34 points), Gallup's 2009 party ID results indicate that Democrats have significant party ID advantages in 30 states and Republicans in only 4,” said the analysis. “Despite the Democratic Party's political strength – seen in its majority representation in Congress and in state houses across the country – more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal.”

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