Poll: Gap between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ steadily narrowing among American adults

Poll: Gap between ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ steadily narrowing among American adults
A new Gallup poll says that more Americans are identifying as "liberal" and the share of those identifying as "conservative" is continuing to decline. (Getty Images)

A new Gallup poll revealed that more Americans are calling themselves “liberal” than ever before and that the share of those identifying as “conservative” is continuing to decline.

What were the poll’s findings?

Gallup reported Thursday that its annual poll of American political ideologies found that the gap between those who consider themselves liberal and those who consider themselves conservative is steadily narrowing. The gap is in single digits for the first time since the poll began in 1992.

The poll, titled, “Americans’ Ideological Views, by Year,” found that a record high share of Americans identify as liberal, while a record low calls themselves conservative.

When asked to describe their political views as “very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal,” 35 percent of American adults in 2017 identified as conservative, while 26 identified as liberal.

This is the first time in the poll’s 25-year history that the conservative edge over has dropped to fewer than 10 points. A year ago, “conservative” edged out “liberal” by 11 points (36 percent to 25 percent), which was the narrowest the gap had ever been.

The share of Americans who identify as liberal has increased 9 points (up from 17 percent to 26 percent) since 1992, while those who identify as conservative has decreased 1 point (down from 36 percent to 35 percent) over the same time period. However, the share of Americans identifying as conservative has reached 40 percent multiple times since the poll began.

The share of voters considering themselves moderate has fallen from 43 percent in 1992 to 35 percent in 2017.

Is there more?

According to Gallup, Democrats are mainly responsible for the uptrend in liberalism because they are increasingly adopting the term “liberal” and fewer Democrats identify as conservative or moderate.

“As a result, the Democratic Party has moved from a fairly mixed party ideologically at the start of the century to one that is now decidedly left-leaning,” the report read.

The report also noted that the Republican Party is still primarily conservative, noting that the party has “undergone less idealogical change” over the course of 17 years, and whose supporters have mainly maintained their conservative ideologies consistently.