Tales from the Trail

THIS JUST IN — Conservatives Find Home in GOP

USA-POLITICS/MASSACHUSETTS

The term “conservative Republican” may seem like a truism nowadays. But a new Gallup survey answers some interesting questions about just who those conservatives are — and who they are not.

The GOP is growing more conservative. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and Republican-voting independents call themselves conservatives today. That’s up from 62 percent in 2000, when the Bush-Gore presidential election split the country down the middle and had to be settled by the Supreme Court. Conservatives accounted for 66 percent of Republicans in 2006.

The latest Gallup findings say only 29 percent of Republicans are moderates or liberals — yes, this implies the continued but perilous existence of the species known as Republican Liberals. 

Conservatives are older — more than 40 percent are 55 years of age or above and thus belong to the American generation that once trusted no one over 30.

Only about one-third of Republican moderates and liberals are north of 55.
    
Two-thirds to three-quarters of Republican conservatives are Protestant vs. 17 to 22 percent who are Catholic and 5 percent who follow a different religious tradition.

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.’
USA/
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.

Gallup poll: conservatives outnumber moderates and liberals

What’s in a political label?

POLITICS/MCCAIN

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.