Record Number of Americans Call Themselves ‘Liberals’ But Conservatives Still Outnumber Them

Posted February 11th, 2015 at 1:06 pm (UTC-4)

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

They still trail their conservative-minded counterparts but a record number of Americans now consider themselves to be liberals.

Conservatives outnumber liberals–38 percent to 24 percent–but, according to Gallup, the 14 percent gap between the two is the smallest it’s been since 1992.

The percentage of U.S. adults who consider themselves liberal rose one percentage point for the third straight year, while the percentage for people who consider themselves politically conservative or moderate remained unchanged from 2013 to 2014.

The increase in the number of  liberals could be the natural settling of the electorate after the high-point of conservatism in the 1990s, which included the Reagan-Bush era and the 1994 Republican Revolution, when the GOP picked up 54 seats in the House of Representatives and eight seats in the Senate during the 1994 midterm elections.

But George Mason University political analyst Mark Rozell thinks there’s more going on.

“Young people today are overwhelmingly socially liberal and tolerant,” he said. “As you have generational replacement–the older generations who are more socially conservative leaving the population, and then younger people [who] are much more socially progressive than their parents and grandparents–you’re naturally going to see some shifting in the overall numbers.” 

Meanwhile, a record number of Americans now see themselves as political independents. The percentage of political independents climbed from 35 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2014.

Yet, even Americans who self-identify as independents tend to be partisan voters.

“Even though there are more independents in the electorate, there are more people who are voting predominantly for one political party in elections,” Rozell said. “So it raises the question of whether the rising percentage of independents is all that important when we look at the actually voting patterns of Americans which seem to be separating out as either, almost exclusively Democrat or exclusively Republican for most people.”

This suggests that the political middle is disappearing in the United States, which threatens the American tradition of political adversaries sitting together to reach a compromise for the good of the nation.

“Now it seems the ethic is more to defeat and vanquish one’s enemies on the other side of the aisle and there’s little ground for negotiation or compromise,” Rozell said. “I don’t know at what point the American public understands how damaging these developments have been to democratic processes in the country and begins to demand that political leaders shift back to a different method of operation where it was OK to sit down with opponents on the other side and work out reasonable compromises and make good public policies.”

17 responses to “Record Number of Americans Call Themselves ‘Liberals’ But Conservatives Still Outnumber Them”

  1. Greg says:

    We need to bring back the Draft for the majority of the Liberal minded College Students

    • Kenmandu says:

      Greg – we need heroes like you to go right over to the Middle East and save our butts not a bunch of goofy free thinking kids.

    • Smith Jones says:

      right. Give a kid an education and he become liberal. Funny how that is

      • Eric says:

        It’s not really that funny when you consider how overwhelmingly liberal academia is.

        Oh, when they are educated they think they are wise! When they think they are wise they think that they know the best solution for everyone and how it should be implemented, which is always bigger government and, as a result, bigger waste (a $4,000,000,000,000 dollar economic proposal from Obama this year, is that really necessary?).

        What these wise men have yet to figure out is that we’re perfectly capable of running our own lives as we see fit thank you very much, even if it’s not conducive with the ideals postulated by those who think they know better.

        When will they figure out that the multiplicity of options offered by the lack of imposition of most regulations better accommodates the needs of the people that they allegedly represent? It doesn’t take a statistician to prove that the absolutes postulated in big government are ineffective farces compared to their microscopic scale analogs. Even the ability of cities, counties and states to change the course of human events tremendously outweighs the capabilities of centralized government to accommodate. Incredible benefit could be yielded by simply pushing the power back to the states but instead the mandate is “consolidate!”

        Having worked in academia, I don’t know why we still let those in academia believe that they have the one-size-fits-all strategy or why we let them push that strategy onto their students who are all too willing to regurgitate the teacher’s own biases back for a good grade in the class. It’s brainwashing at best. Since students are encouraged to parrot back the answers in lieu of thinking the value of a college degree greatly diminishes.

    • Ben says:

      Yes, you must be one of famous chickenhawks who are expert at sending poor brown, black and white kids to their deaths in wars that only enrich Lockheed and Co and add to the debt. However, like all chickenhawks, neither you or kids will ever see military service.

      • hooligan says:

        What did you ever do for your country? As a Marine infantryman, I saw combat in Korea and Vietnam. I don’t think I qualify as a chicken hawk.

    • MR.T says:

      All Americans should serve 1 or 2 years in the military.I was drafted for the Korean War.It was the best thing that ever happened to me.The GI Bill and being a veteran helped me!!!

    • Brotherbuzz says:

      No…what we need to do is bring back diplomacy that encourages peace and not the present one that perpetuates war.

  2. Mark says:

    It has been a very long time since Congress has had the capacity to “sit down with opponents on the other side and work out reasonable compromises and make good public policies.” It is always the method for one side to “defeat” the other side politically. There is very little working for the people attitude in Congress, it is all about the politicians themselves. Its the idea of labeling one’s self a liberal, or a conservative that does it, this uncompromising stance of ‘it’s my way, or no way’ that is prevalent not only on our government, but on the public streets as well.

  3. Cranksy (USA) says:

    Abraham Lincoln is the name of the period when the god Genius turn its attention towards government. (Today is the anniversary of his birth.)

  4. insight says:

    The terms liberal and conservative have no real meaning .They are buzz words that lump together a group of hazy thoughts.To some conservative implies moral uprightness and respect for the status quo. No group of people was more conservitve than the French aristocrats on the eve of the French revolution or more decadent and libertine.Very few groups pocessed more radicalism or more self disipline than menbers of the Communist party of Lenin.When people lose faith in their ideas or seeing what they believe slipping way , as the nineteenth century pundit G.K. Chesterson said ” when people lose faith in an idea , they do not start believing in nothing , they start believeing in anything”. This means that many people become reactionary and try to restore a dead past, or start down the path of radicalism of untried ideas. Both are dangerous.

  5. PermReader says:

    Young liberals: it will be over. The sayng: who was not a liberal at 18 has not the heart, who remaind a liberal at 40 has not the brains.

  6. spawn777 says:

    @PermReader — The terrible assumption of that statement is that the “brains” means that you will select what will be best for your own situation with no regard for anyone else. One can remain above that. It’s just hard work.

  7. klaus says:

    Now with all of them paying for health care they are not cheering, believe me.

  8. Eric says:

    I hope that the younger generation realize the following faults of liberalism soon:

    – Big government is ineffective when compared to its industry counterpart.
    – People are generally decent, so why obligate them into social programs created to benefit the minority? Why not instead encourage altruism to lift up those in need?
    – Feel good policies are great until you find out who has to foot the bill or suffer the consequences.
    – Just because it elicits a positive emotional response doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
    – This world isn’t fair and trying to make it so will only make it more unfair.
    – Americans are people too, as a result they should get a say in how they live their lives. Responsibly or not.
    – Liberty is a zero sum game, either you have it or you forfeit it. When you encourage big government you are giving up your liberties to a large entity run by career bureaucrats that don’t necessarily represent your best interests in the stewardship of your forsaken liberties.

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