Conservatives on the Rise

November 5th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge

Gallup PollIn a recent Gallup poll, 40% of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. Are these numbers accurate? Yes. And no.

From Gallup: “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.”

I do believe that in general we are “center-right” as a nation. So while I don’t dispute these numbers, I do have a theory about the accuracy of the respondents. And nothing to support it with other than experience.

I have friends who I consider conservatives, and most of them are proud to be considered conservatives. They wear their conservatism like a badge of honor.

I have friends who I consider liberals, many of whom view themselves as moderates.

Why do so many liberals not like to be labeled as liberals? I’m not entirely sure. But I think there are a couple of things in play here.

One is that when a person surrounds themselves with like-minded people, it’s easy to start to view your views as mainstream. So if liberals hang out with liberals, the group think becomes “our views are common so we must be moderates”.

And two, when liberal views have been reinforced by mainstream media for so many years, it again reinforces that these views must be moderate.

Those on the left fight the idea that mainstream media is left of center. I hope to cover this in another post soon. I have a theory there as well. For those non-believers, I strongly recommend Bernie Goldberg’s book Bias. It’s several years old at this point, but it’s an eyeopening read.

6 Responses to “Conservatives on the Rise”

  1. Bobby Says:

    Seems pretty obvious that the administrations failures to fix the economy or pass health care is driving people to the right.

  2. Darren Keller Says:

    I’d like to see a hard core liberal give their explanation as to why they think this is happening. Given, of course, they believe what the poll suggests.

  3. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Hey Darren, the move isn’t anything unexpected. During the Reagan / Bush 1 years the democrats controlled Congress. Clinton elected in ’92, and the GOP takes over both Senate and the House in ’94. Bush 2 elected in 2000, and dems take over Senate in ’04 and House in ’06. Now with Obama in office, voters will swing back to voting in the GOP into Congress / become more conservative.

    I was surprised at how long it took the dems to take over Congress during the Bush years. But it was inevitable. I expect GOP to make moves in 2010 and 2012 elections. And economy must get significantly better for Obama to have a chance in 2012. Though that’s a long ways away. An eternity in political years. Kind of like dog years :)

  4. Darren Keller Says:

    Impressive stats, Lee. Did you have to look that up or did you just know it, smart guy? It stands to reason. It’s an ebb and flow, depending on who’s in office.

  5. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Just a bit of a political junkie. :)

    People tend to want a balance of power between the WH and Congress.

  6. Just Plano Bob Says:

    you seem to have forgotten one critical point here – this country is waking up to one huge fact and I’m not sure if this can even be measured with stats, yet. I can’t begin to be speaking for the liberal agenda, but “good ‘ol democrats” have awakened to the fact that this new guy, who campaigned to be center moderate, has gone way, way, way to the left of the majority of the history of this country. Therefore, even some dems don’t want “this much” government involved in their lives. That includes independents that voted for him. They are now starting to turn the tide. Which is why people who have been silent to this point, even in repub (Bush) “times”, are saying what and WHERE is my country headed to. Never under estimate silent voices speaking out. The mom & pops out there, are not just right wing terrorists, looking to see this president fail. They are seeing their liberty and freedoms disappear day by day. We have had enough!!!

    one man’s opinion.