PRINCETON, NJ — Conservatives have maintained their leading position among U.S. ideological groups in the first half of 2010. Gallup finds 42% of Americans describing themselves as either very conservative or conservative. This is up slightly from the 40% seen for all of 2009 and contrasts with the 20% calling themselves liberal or very liberal.
The 2010 results are based on eight Gallup and USA Today/Gallup surveys conducted from January through June, encompassing interviews with more than 8,000 U.S. adults. The 42% identifying as conservative represents a continuation of the slight but statistically significant edge conservatives achieved over moderates in 2009. Should that figure hold for all of 2010, it would represent the highest annual percentage identifying as conservative in Gallup’s history of measuring ideology with this wording, dating to 1992.
The recent rise in conservatism’s fortunes follows a decline seen after 2003; liberalism has experienced the opposite pattern. From 1993 to 2002, the ideological trend had been fairly stable, with roughly 40% identifying as moderate, 38% as conservative, and 19% as liberal. Before that, the presidential bid of independent candidate Ross Perot may have contributed to a heightened proportion of Americans (43%) calling themselves moderate in 1992.
Partisans Maintain Their 2009 Ideological Leanings
There are no significant changes so far in 2010 compared with 2009 in how Republicans, Democrats, and independents characterize their respective political views. Consistent with the patterns seen last year, nearly 4 in 10 Democrats call themselves liberal and a similar proportion of Democrats say they are moderate.
Read the full Gallup poll at In 2010, Conservatives Still Outnumber Moderates, Liberals.