Gallup poll: conservatives outnumber moderates and liberals

October 26, 2009

What’s in a political label?


Well Gallup has found that more Americans identify themselves as conservatives than those who call themselves moderate or liberal.

On the question of political ideology, 40 percent of those surveyed said they were conservative, 36 percent were moderate, and 20 percent liberal.

“This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group,” Gallup says.

Wonder what this means for the 2010 midterm elections that everyone’s watching for signs of political shifts…

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Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Senator John McCain at an American Conservative Union conference in February 2008)


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Wait…how is this possibly accurate reporting? Do the math with real numbers and separate your apples and oranges from this fermented fruit punch with a lemon slice squeezed hard to the right. I can see that 40% were willing to define selves as conservative, but the other 60% are moderate or liberal. The funnier thing is only 20% of Americans are willing to declare themselves to be Republicans. There is a large segment of Libertarian-minded folk that have become quite uncomfortable with the GOP’s flailing leadership. Assuming a strong correlation between conservatives and admitting Republican affiliation, it seems that at best about 50% of conservatives (plus I’d allow that perhaps there is a wee percentage of disaffected moderates) are willing to declare themselves Republican–that would jive with other very recent surveys showing only 20% identify themselves as voting base of the GOP. That splintering of the ‘conservative’ base should be the real news and analysis. The inability to come up with influential policy and polical leaders other than Sarah Palin, Rush Limbeau or Bill O’Reilly, and loss of solidarity of the ‘evangelical’ vote should be the true concerns of conservatives for 2010/2012.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

steve,Gallup quotes MORE AMERICANS IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS CONSERVATIVES” They did not say that they polled the fruit in the super market.This is typical of the socialist bubble that you guys live in,the reality that people think differently to your idealism is something that you cannot comprehend.Listen Bush became unpopular and people voted against him,but the suggestions that we are reading from the liberal blogs about the new dawning of progressive socialism is nonsense.If unemployment is still in double digit figures in 2012 Obama is out on his BUTT.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

People are waking up. OBAMA IS A MISTAKE. They got all caught up in “Look at me I am so enlightened I can vote for a Black Man” without really investigating who he was – an outright RADICAL SOCIALIST. In the 70’s it took a Carter failed Presidency to wake people up – now it is taking a failed Obama Presidency to wake people up. Conservatism IS who the core of America is. At least the Americans who actually PAY income taxes not the 47% who pay NOTHING and sponge off society.

Posted by S. Ensible | Report as abusive

The Republicans lost the last election because they forgot that conservatism means “paying the bills and balancing the budget.” Bush 43 did a lousy job of this. The bailout for the Wall Street fat cats was just the cherry on top of the cake. The people wanted “change”. They got Obama the Socialist — not exactly that rugged individualism which built America. Health care reform and trillion dollar deficits will be his legacy. A more conservative “change” is on the way next cycle.

Posted by Greg Parker | Report as abusive

The only true conservatives left on the planet are us Ron Paul supporters. Which is about 1% of America.

We care about fiscal conservatism, neutral foreign policy, limited government, and we demand freedoms and liberties of the individual.

We don’t care about birth certificates, pastors of choice, who’s on a board with you 20 years ago, how pretty our vice president would be.

People have to know what a conservative actually is before they can claim to be one, no one who votes Republican is a true conservative. They’re just hypocrits.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

This poll is a bit difficult to analyze. Firstly what is the concept of conservatives, moderate or liberal. I can be ultra conservative but feel that I am a liberal and hence classified as such. Also if we see politicians changes their ideology or such to follow the trend, my only comment is these are a bunch of spineless fellas who aren’t suitable for any offices at all!

Posted by Lim Boon Chuan | Report as abusive

Since most of the people I know are conservatives who sometimes vote independently, thanks for the good news that some one is noticing. You’re not going to find these dependable hardworking types hanging out on street corners — they are too busy working; but, they do their duty and vote (especially when ethical issues are at stake).

Posted by paullette | Report as abusive

[…] a necessary realignment, especially when you look at the revised Gallup numbers on how the nation self-identifies politically. On the question of political ideology, 40 percent of those surveyed said they were conservative, 36 […]

Posted by Twenty-third « Real Clear Thinker | Report as abusive

Brian you really have to let go of this socialism thing. I know Rush and Glenn keep telling you that’s what going on but they are wrong, it’s simple fear mongering. I know you grew up in Europe so you should know that we are not headed toward being socialist. The free market still very much rules the US, what you’re seeing is a small push back against unchecked capitalism. There is a difference. Don’t buy into the fear being pushed by the right wing pundits.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

[…] Originally Posted by padcrasher And this was the 2nd poll this week that confirms it. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone but these wingers think their poll numbers are low because they are not being "conservative" enough. They think they need to move to the right….lol They do need to move right away from big gov Gallup has found that more Americans identify themselves as conservatives than those who call themselves moderate or liberal. Front Row Washington

Posted by Fox News Success Not Helping Republicans – Politics and Other Controversies – Page 4 – City-Data Forum | Report as abusive

Eric. Brian Lee having lived in Europe and knowing the face of socialism is a more credible authority than you are…someone who lives in the sparsely populated outpost of Maine. You need to get out and travel the world to understand we are indeed on the path to socialism. Even your liberal friend and neighbor Barney Frank explicitly said he wants more government control.

It is a cop out when you liberals always fall back on blaming others for the beliefs different from yours. Show me the proof Brian gets his information from Rush or Glenn. Prove it or shut up about it. Just go back to listening to NPR.

You might have learned about history in the liberal college you went to, but there is a difference between book knowledge and truly experiencing the places you only read about. There is a huge difference between the two. Trust me, I know the difference.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

TC i replied to eric but it never showed but thats Ok Reuters have been fair.Eric i have never listened to Rush in my life! and when Glen is on my wife commanders the TV her favorite chefs are on the cooking channel.Sarah has shown up again so i know we will see a blood surge from you,cut down on the coffee!anyway give my regards to your family,God bless!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

no one who votes Republican is a true conservative. They’re just hypocrits.

– Posted by Michael Ham

Then since Paul was listed as a republican you must not have voted for him? For, by your definition, if you voted for him as a republican, you would be a hipocrite.

Otherwise you would merely be a pompous ass trying to sound like you are so unique being in the “top 1%” ..

which are you?

Posted by kettleCALLING! | Report as abusive

[…] in the party, oh they are well come to stay and take lessons in conservatism, which by the way is the large percent of the American population… something you might want to make a note of Newt. So while all the conservatives are backing […]

Posted by The Angry White Guy » Blog Archive » Newt doesn’t get it… | Report as abusive

Good point kettleCALLING!, I should have narrowed it down to mainstream Republicans. You have the common sense to know that McCain/Guiliani/Huckabee/Romney have nothing in common with Ron Paul. Ron Paul is early 19th century Republican, those types are the 2009 Republicans, the type that only have to be conservative from a religious standpoint to be elected.

Do I consider myself the elite and smartest group of 1% of Americans? Absolutely not, I consider myself a man of average to slightly above average intelligence. My advantage over all you people is lack of bias, having a political party leaves you completely incapable of objective opinion on the 2 parties.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

TC, Brian Lee, please tell me what Obama has done that Bush didn’t do that has you guys using that word so much now that you never would have used between 2000 and 2008.

Bail out corporate america?

Expand gov’t pork spending?

Increase welfare?

Increase the size and power of gov’t?

Which is it?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Micheal Ham. You are right. I have always said the last 2 years of the Bush presidency wasn’t his best. So, no argument from me.

However, my statements are about the here and now and the future of our country. In case you haven’t noticed Obama is president now, not Bush.

It amazes me how this administration and congress won’t take ownership over anything. The agenda being pushed right now needs to be stopped…Hopefully the elections in a few weeks will be the start. Also, hopefully this health care fiasco will be stopped dead in its tracks….It’s a bad bad deal what they are trying to push on us…Socialism…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Well TC that’s kind of a bailout, you purposefully said the last 2 years because you know those were democrat congress years.

There’s not one part of the Bush administration/Republican Congress from 2000-2006 that could be considered conservative, they did absolutely nothing to pull gov’t back.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

micheal ham,where do i start!cancels the missile shield in hope that it would give him leverage with the Russans, it did not.Refuse to apply the request for more troops because of domestic political considerations.Hands over a major share of Obama auto,s to the unions.Asks surrogates to e mail names of possible none supporters.Tries to marginalize a popular news station that prints news that will not gave his administration a favorable advantage.The list goes on and is growing by the minute.When you compare the two presidents remember,they turned Bush,s life upside down to try to get some dirt on the guy,none! Obama got a free pass,similar to the Czars that he has employed, but wait till his bubble bursts with the press then you will see stuff start to surface.Thanks Micheal can you ask me to do this on a regular basis,it is important to get the message out!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian, try talking about something that matters, let me show you how it works through my list of similarities.

1.) Expanding the federal budget

2.) Appoint lobbyists to gov’t positions

3.) Expand the welfare budget

4.) Spread warmongering

5.) Bail out corporate america

6.) Take in record tax revenues

7.) Grow the national debt to new records

8.) Keep our borders wide open

9.) Support the Patriot Act

10.) Arrest those against you, claim dissenter as possible terrorists.

11.) Use american taxpayer dollars to give healthcare to the uninsured

12.) Against gay marriage

13.) In favor of holding suspects without trial and torturing them in foreign countries.

14.) Foreign nationbuilding at the expense of the US taxpayer.

15.) Provide funding to Israel at US taxpayer expense

16.) In favor of Affirmative Action

17.) Support religious based profiling

18.) Warrantless wire tapping and the ability for gov’t to spy on its citizens

19.) Invent new czar positions to expand power of the executive branch

20.) Keep all drugs illegal

Well there’s 20 similarities off the top of my head that are leading to the destruction of this country, but if that’s not enough for you to even question leaving your party, nothing is.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

thanks again Micheal,yes the republican party is not far enough to the right for me. But we don,t have a great choice at present hopefully some the talent coming through will have more leadership abilities.There is certainly going to be a need for a strong leader after Obama.We were told that because of his “presence” all the world wars and aggression would cease, but because of his weakness things have got decidedly worse in the 10 months of his presidency.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Unbelievable! Michael you are very good at keeping the attention off Obama. But the fact of the matter is, he Is president now and is accountable for his actions. Bush at this point in his first term had 55 percent approval rating. Right now, Obama has 47 percent approval. He is off to a horrible start because he is working hard to force his agenda on the majority of Americans who want nothing to do with his “fundamental” change.

If you think Bush was bad, then you are just sticking your head in the sand about Obama. It is a travesty he has added 1.7 trillion to the deficit this year. Everything Brian said is spot on. His policies are not appreciated by the world….see UN. His inaction in Afghanistan is putting our troops and country at peril. Health care is going to cost us more than you can imagine…and that isn’t a good thing. Over 70 percent of the nation does not agree with global warming…but he wants to force cap and trade on us to redistribute our wealth.

The list is endless and in the end you will not be better off then when he took office. No one likes him, but he has the media protecting him….

Oh well, you Obama left wing apologists will not see the truth of what he is doing to our country…destroying it…probably on purpose…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

I put right out in the open 20 similarities Bush and Obama share and that’s somehow me taking attention away from Obama? That’s interesting how you come to that conclusion.

I thought Bush was a disaster, I think Obama is a disaster. Every president gets worse, Bush was much worse than Clinton, Obama is much worse than Bush, happens every time as the power of the executive branch and power of gov’t expands.

Lol, though I’ll be honest this is the first time I’ve compiled an enormous list of similarities between Bush and Obama and been called an “Obama apologist” for it. He’s an absolute trainwreck top to bottom, don’t change my opinion to better suit your argument sir.

Brian Lee,

What I’m saying is there’s not one thing about the Republican party that’s conservative, not one thing. So if you vote Republican than there’s not one thing about you that’s conservative.

I’m not sure how you take Obama for being weak, I take him as a warmonger and the evidence supports me. He’s increased warmongering in Afghanistan, he’s spread the warmongering into Pakistan and pulling out of Iraq means nothing because Bush signed the pullout agreement in December before Obama took office. Obama has taken every bit as “strong” of a stance against Iran and North Korea as Bush did.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Micheal. I owe you an apology. This is no great excuse, but I misread what you wrote late at 1 am and responded to what I thought you wrote. I am sorry.

I am one conservative who can admit when I am wrong. Something the liberal left never does. They continue to throw darts (like Obama) even when they are clearly wrong…why? because they have no rational argument.

One thing I will always respect Bush for, he didn’t stoop to such low levels like Obama and Clinton blaming everyone else for what is wrong in the world. Bush was a class act because he wouldn’t take the bait and try to destroy people…just to look good…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Apology accepted sir.

I guess I don’t really judge these people on a personal level, if someone is an a-hole and they’re a great president I’d much rather have that than a nice guy who sucks at it.

Just my personal belief.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive