Gallup: Liberals Remain Small Minority in America--Outnumbered Nearly 2-to-1 by Conservatives

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 2, 2011 | 11:03am EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( - Self-professed liberals remain a small minority in America, equaling only 21 percent of the population, the same percentage they have held for the last two years, according to a newly released Gallup poll.

Liberals are even a minority within the Democratic Party, according to Gallup. In the new poll, 39 percent of Democrats said they were moderates, 38 percent said they were liberals and 22 percent said they were conservatives. Thus, in the grassroots of the Democratic Party, the combined moderate and conservative blocs out-number the liberals 61 percent to 38 percent.

Ironically, the percentage of self-described conservatives in the Democratic Party is higher than the percentage of self-described liberals in the overall American population.

To determine the percentage of liberals, moderates and conservatives in America in the first half of 2011, Gallup asked 10,265 people from January through June this question: “How would you describe your political views—very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal or very liberal?”

Overall, 11 percent said they were very conservative, 30 percent said they were conservative, 36 percent said they were moderate, 15 percent said they were liberal, 6 percent said they were very liberal and 2 percent said they had no opinion.

The combined 41 percent who said they were very conservative or conservative was nearly double the combined 21 percent who said they were liberal or very liberal.

The small percentage of Americans who profess to be liberals has changed very little over the 20 years Gallup has been asking people to categorize their political views as liberal, moderate or conservative. By contrast, the percentage who say they are conservative has grown, as conservatives replaced moderates as the largest philosophical bloc in the country.

In 1992, when Gallup started asking the question, 43 percent said they were moderate, 36 percent said they were conservative and 17 percent said they were liberal.

Self-professed liberalism hit its nadir in the Gallup poll in 1995 and 1996, which coincided with the first Republican-controlled House of Representatives in four decades and the last two years of President Clinton’s first term. In both 1995 and 1996, 16 percent of Americans told Gallup they were liberals.

Self-professed liberalism hit its apex in 2007 and 2008—topping out at 22 percent of the population. Over the past two decades, self-professed liberals have never equaled even a quarter of the American population.

In 2009 and 2010, the percentage of self-professed liberals dropped back to 21 percent, the same percentage Gallup discovered it was this year in January through June.  

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