A new survey by Gallup finds that more Americans still identify as politically conservative, though the gap has narrowed steadily since the 1990s.
The results, published today, found that 36 percent of Americans identify as conservatives versus 25 percent who say they are politically liberal.
In the 1990s, Gallup said, only an average of 17 percent of Americans identified as liberals. Today, the difference is half of what it was at its peak in 1996, and down from a 14-point difference just two years ago.
“Since Gallup began routinely measuring Americans’ political ideology in 1992, conservative identification has varied between 36% and 40%. At the same time, there has been a clear increase in the percentage identifying as politically liberal, from 17% to 25%. This has been accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the percentage identifying as ‘moderate,’ from 43% to 34%,” Gallup said.
There are other findings as well. While Republicans have remained generally conservative fiscally and socially, those who identify as Democrats are shifting further Left. In the era of Barack Obama, that has especially been the case.
What’s more, the word “liberal” has lost its stigma among self-identified Democrats, with many now proudly claiming such beliefs.
Some demographers and political scientists believe that as the two major ideologies diverge, the country becomes more divided, rancor is higher and the nation is harder to govern because the two sides are too far apart to compromise.