Thursday, August 20, 2009

America Is Becoming More Conservative And More Polarized

According to a recent Gallup poll released last Friday, more Americans identify themselves as conservative than liberal in each of the fifty states.

The poll found that the states with the highest percentage of self-identified conservatives tended to be in the South. States such as Alabama and Mississippi were found to be 49% and 48% conservative respectfully, while only 15% of those polled in those states identified themselves as liberals. The state with the lowest percentage of liberals was Louisiana, with only 14%.

Many of the most liberal states were found to be on the East and West coasts. 29% of those polled in Massachusetts said they were liberal and 28% in Vermont, with Oregon (27%) and Washington (26%) coming in third and fourth.

Massachusetts and Vermont had the narrowest margins in favor of conservatism, with conservatives outnumbering liberals by 1%.

Though conservatives outnumbered liberals in all fifty states, in Washington D.C. the poll found that liberals outnumbered conservatives 37% to 23%.

However, the fact that conservatives outnumbered liberals across the country appears to support recent evidence that America is becoming increasingly conservative.

According to a set of Gallup polls done from January to May of 2009, 40% of people polled nationwide identified themselves as conservative, compared with only 21% as liberal.

"This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004," writes Lydia Saad concerning the nationwide poll.

In a June poll, Gallup found that 39% of Americans say their political views have become more conservative since 2004, as compared to only 19% who say they have become more liberal.

This trend towards conservatism is also supported by the recent and unprecedented Gallup polls concerning abortion.

As LSN reported, in a May poll, 51% of Americans said they were pro-life, the first time since the question starting being asked in 1995 that a majority of Americans identified themselves as pro-life.

However, in a mid-July poll the numbers equalized somewhat, with 47% of Americans calling themselves pro-life while 46% of Americans called themselves pro-choice. Theses numbers are still up, though, from 2004, when only 44% of Americans identified themselves as pro-life.

Further, an overwhelming majority of Americans think there should be some restrictions on abortion. 18% think that abortion should be illegal in all cases, while another 57% think abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances. Only 21% believed abortion should be legal under any circumstances.

Overall, the country seems to be becoming more polarized. On a nationwide basis, Gallup found that only 35% consider themselves moderate, as compared with 40% conservative and 21% liberal, the first time since 2004 there have been more conservatives than moderates.

The number of moderates has declined since the mid-90's, when 40% of Americans identified themselves as moderate.


Bob Qat August 20, 2009 at 6:20 PM  

Central problem is what people think liberal/conservative mean. A friend who pictures himself conservative is still a big Obama backer. Slight disconnect?

The issues will be more informative. The plastic bag tax failed Tuesday, which is a hopeful sign here in ol' Warshington.

Red August 20, 2009 at 6:24 PM  

We see where being moderate has gotten us. It's time to pick a side.

Miss T.C. Shore August 20, 2009 at 9:50 PM  

Agreed, Bob. Some people are so ill-informed they haven't a clue as to what is going on or what they believe politically. I question whether there are really more conservatives in places like Mass. and Vermont, but I printed the story as reported.

I do think there is an increase in the polarization of America. I think, to a large degree, this is due to the fact that generally speaking people are more informed and are picking sides.

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