Friday, January 24, 2014
In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis resisted calling himself a liberal; when he finally "admitted" his ideological leanings, he was mocked by George Bush '41 for his reluctance. A recent Gallup poll finds that such reluctance is, thankfully, passé; more Americans than ever identify as liberal. While there are still more who identify as conservative, that number has held steady. As a result, the conservative advantage is shrinking:
Americans continue to be more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%). But the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification edged up to its highest level since Gallup began regularly measuring ideology in the current format in 1992.
...When Gallup began asking about ideological identification in all its polls in 1992, an average 17% of Americans said they were liberal. That dipped to 16% in 1995 and 1996, but has gradually increased, exceeding 20% each year since 2005.
The shift toward greater liberal self-identification has been led by Democrats. Currently, 43% of Democrats say they are liberal, a nearly 50% increase from 29% in 2000. Over the same period, the percentage of Democrats identifying as moderate is down to 36% from 44%, and conservative identification is down to 19% from 25%.