A common denominator I’ve found over the past twenty years or so between those who lean left and right is that there's a general belief that the country is becoming more “liberal”. From the left’s perspective that’s progress. From the right’s point-of-view it’s an erosion of values and rights. Could it be that the country has gone as far to the left as it’s inclined to go?
2018 marked a key moment in American political history. It was a year that saw Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, which isn’t new. But, what was the brand of Democrats who won many of the seats? Led by AOC and her squad, we have overt socialists in Congress. Representatives who are openly anti-semantic. Democrats who make Nancy Pelosi, who was the liberal standard-bearer only a decade ago, look conservative by comparison. Could it be that the pendulum has begun to swing back the other way? The answer is at least maybe.
Gallup has polled on ideology annually since 1992. The trend had been consistent. Fewer conservatives and more liberals gradually over time, though the country was still comprised of more conservatives than liberals. Last year, we reached the lowest percentage of self-Id conservatives, 35% and the highest percentage of self Id liberals, 26% on record. That’s no longer the case. According to Gallup’s current survey, there was the largest one year change they’ve recorded with a 4-point shift.
Gallup found 37% of Americans entering 2020 are conservatives and 24% are liberals which makes the country 13% more conservative than liberal ideologically. This is the widest margin for conservatives since 2014, which incidentally was a good election cycle for Republicans. One year doesn’t make a trend, but a trend starts with a first year. While we wait to see what the future holds, at least for the moment, AOC and the Squad look less like the future than a year ago and it wouldn’t seem that the policies of Bernie Sanders or Elisabeth Warren would be palatable for most Americans this year.
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