Why do conservatives feel so marginalized and besieged when we actually outnumber liberals?
A new Gallup poll found that, in America, conservatives still outnumber liberals by at least 9 percentage points of 35% to 26%, but the trend is not in our favor, with the number of conservatives decreasing and the number of liberals increasing since 2011.
In response to Gallup’s question, “How would you describe your political views — very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal or very liberal?”:
- 35% of U.S. adults said they were “very conservative/conservative”.
- 26% said they were “liberal/very liberal”.
- 35% said they were “moderate”.
- Political party: 73% of Republicans, 18% of Independents, and only 13% of Democrats describe themselves as conservative.
- Age: Older Americans are more conservative — 43% of Americans 65 and older, 29% of those age 30 to 49, and 30% of those age 18 to 29.
- Gender: More men than women are conservative — 40% of men vs. 30% of women.
- Race: Whites are more conservative — 39% of non-Hispanic whites, 22% of Blacks, 29% of Hispanics.
- Education: Those with some college education are less conservative — 38% of Americans with no college, 37% of those with some college, 33% of college graduates, and 38% of those with postgraduate education are conservative.
- Geographical region: 39% of people in the South, 36% in the Midwest, 31% in the West, and 30% in the East are conservative.
- Income: 36% of Americans with $30,000 to $74,999 income, 35% of Americans with $75,000 or more, 32% of less than $30,000 income are conservative.
Americans are also more polarized, with fewer identifying themselves as moderates. Gallup says:
Americans’ assessment of their political ideology was unchanged in 2018 compared with the year prior. Although conservatives continue to outnumber liberals, the gap in conservatives’ favor has narrowed from 19 percentage points in Gallup’s 1992 baseline measurement to nine points each of the past two years. Since 1992, the percentage of Americans identifying as liberal has risen from 17% then to 26% today. This has been mostly offset by a shrinking percentage of moderates, from 43% to 35%. Meanwhile, from 1993 to 2016 the percentage conservative was consistently between 36% and 40%, before dipping to 35% in 2017 and holding at that level in 2018….
Americans with strong conservative leanings include seniors and adults aged 50 to 64, men, residents of the South and adults with no college education. All of these groups lean conservative by more than 15 percentage points; whites, adults with some college education (but no degree) and residents of the Midwest lean conservative by at least 10 points.
Americans with strong liberal tendencies include Democrats, adults with postgraduate education (15 points more liberal than conservative) and blacks (9 points more liberal).