Gallup: Conservatives Outnumber Liberals in U.S. 36% to 25%

By Susan Jones | January 3, 2017 | 7:05am EST
(AP Photo)

( - More Americans identify themselves as conservative than as liberal or moderate, a new Gallup poll says. While the percentage of conservatives has stayed about the same since the early 1990s, the percentage of liberals has increased and the percentage of moderates has fallen.

The poll found that in 2016, 36 percent of Americans said they are conservative, compared with 25 percent who identified as liberal (up from 17 percent in the 1990s); and 34 percent who identified as moderate (down from 43 percent in the early 1990s).

Since Gallup started to routinely measure Americans' political ideology in 1992, conservative identification has varied between 36-40 percent.

Gallup notes that "moderates" were the most prevalent group from 1992 to 2002, before conservatives overtook them in 2003.

(The annual ideology figures are based on combined data from Gallup's multi-day, non-tracking surveys conducted each year, encompassing no fewer than 11,000 interviews, and in most years, more than 20,000 interviews.)

Gallup says Americans' political views changed after 2000, as an increasing number of Democrats became more likely to self-identify as liberal. The poll found that "liberalism" now ranks as the top ideological group among Democrats.

Since 2001, there has been an eight-point decline in percentage of Democrats identifying as conservative and a six-point decline in the percentage of Democrats who call themselves moderate.

As Democrats have drifted leftward, Republicans "have maintained a strong tendency to identify as conservative," Gallup said. In 2016, 63 percent of Republicans identified as conservative, slightly below the peak of 67 percent in 2009 and 2010.

Gallup said 30 percent of Republicans now identify as political moderates, while fewer than one in ten say they are political liberals.

Gallup concludes that with most Republicans already identifying as conservative and more Democrats identifying as liberal, the parties are moving further apart ideologically.

"The most obvious implication of this after the 2016 election is that the parties may increasingly nominate candidates who are wholly unacceptable to the opposing party. Additionally, it may be affecting the ideological bent of Americans' representatives in Congress and the pressure these leaders face from their constituents to adhere to conservative versus liberal orthodoxy."

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