The number of Americans who describe themselves and their beliefs as “liberal,” either on social or economic issues is growing significantly and reaching new highs, or meeting earlier ones, based on data from a just-released poll by Gallup, a generally conservative organization. Accordingly, the number of Americans who describe themselves and their beliefs as “conservative,” either on social or economic issues is dropping.
Gallup reports “the trend suggests that ideological attitudes in the country may be shifting. Social liberalism has grown by six points since 2001 and now attracts half of rank-and-file Democrats and Democratic leaners.”
This new survey shows changes in Americans’ ideology: economic conservatism is at a five-year low, while social liberalism has registered its highest support…
Gallup reports finding “the percentage of Americans describing their social views as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal’ has achieved a new peak of 30% — in line with Gallup’s recent finding that Americans are more accepting on a number of moral issues. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they are conservative or very conservative on social issues and 32% self-identify as socially moderate.”
The polling organization also notes that among Democrats, the shift is to the left:
While the nation may be a house divided on social issues, self-identified or “leaning” Democrats appear to be moving toward consensus. Half now say their social views are liberal or very liberal; this figure was 35% in 2001 and 37% as recently as 2010. Fewer Democrats say they are socially moderate — down nine percentage points since 2001 — or socially conservative, down six points.
A recent study not associated with Gallup found that politicians’ generally believe their constituents are far more conservative than they actually are, which might offer some explanation why expanding gun control background checks, which is supported by 91 percent of Americans, failed.
The study, “What Politicians Believe About Their Constituents: Asymmetric Misperceptions and Prospects for Constituency Control,” by David E. Broockman and Christopher Skovron and presented at Vanderbilt University, notes “there is a striking conservative bias in politicians’ perceptions, particularly among conservatives: conservative politicians systematically believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are by more than 20 percentage points on average, and liberal politicians also typically overestimate their constituents’ conservatism by several percentage points.
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