Democrats may face a new challenge: rising conservatism
The Democratic Party’s hopes of retaining control of Congress in November are already reeling from a spate of Senate retirements and the political flap surrounding last month’s failed bomb attack on a Detroit-bound airliner. Now comes a potential new hurdle: growing conservatism among the American public.
Gallup polling data show that conservatives became the biggest potential voting bloc in 2009. Forty percent of Americans called themselves ‘conservative’ last year, compared with 36 percent who said they were ‘moderate’ and 21 percent who described themselves as ‘liberal.’
The findings, which have an error margin of 1 percentage point, come from an aggregate of 21 separate Gallup and USA Today/Gallup surveys, spanning nearly 22,000 interviews.
Gallup polling data also show that the number of Americans calling themselves moderate has fallen over the past decade, while conservatives and liberals have gained ground.
“Since 1992, there have been only two other years — 2003 and 2004 — in which the average percentage of conservatives nationwide outnumbered moderates, and in both cases, it was by two percentage points (in contrast to the current four points),” the Gallup Organization says.
Political pundits have noted the growing prominence of the grass-roots conservative tea party movement named for the famous Boston Tea Party, suggesting it could some day become a major political force opposed to President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies.
Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott (Tea Party demonstrators in Flagstaff, Arizona)