In 1999, Gallup started asking its poll respondents to describe their own political views — i.e., whether they were liberal or conservative — regardless of their party affiliation. This week, for the first time since they started, they found that when it comes to social issues, the number of self-identified liberals matched the number of self-identified conservatives, because, y’know, generational shifts and stuff.
Here is that finding in chart form, via Gallup:
Prior to that, Gallup says that conservatives outnumbered liberals, but that seems to be changing over time. “The broad trend has been toward a shrinking conservative advantage, although that was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency,” Gallup noted. “Since then, the conservative advantage continued to diminish until it was wiped out this year.”
It also seems to be affecting people who identify as Republican: only 53% of respondents said their views were socially conservative, “the lowest in Gallup’s trend”, and correlates with a rise in self-identified socially moderate Republicans (34%).
Gallup observed that this liberal self-identification seems to be limited to social issues, and that Americans “still by a wide margin, 39% to 19%, describe their views on economic issues as conservative rather than liberal.”
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