Conservatives on the RiseNovember 5th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
In 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.