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Gallup: U.S. growing more conservative?

WASHINGTON (BP)–Democrats may control the White House and Congress, but a new survey says the country isn’t getting more liberal — in fact, the opposite may be true.

The Gallup survey of 1,011 adults found that 39 percent of American adults say their “views on political issues” have grown more conservative in recent years, compared to 18 percent who say their views have grown more liberal and 42 percent who say their views have not changed. The poll was conducted June 14-17.

In fact, all three political identity groups show that adults are more likely to have grown more conservative than liberal. Among Republicans, 47 percent say they are more conservative and 9 percent more liberal. For Independents, it’s 37 percent (more conservative) and 19 percent (more liberal), and for Democrats, 34 percent (more conservative) and 23 percent (more liberal).

The survey complements Gallup data released in June showing that conservatives outnumber liberals by a nearly 2-to-1 margin — 40 percent to 21 percent — when Americans are asked to label their political views. Thirty-five percent call themselves moderates.

But it’s too early to say America is a solidly conservative nation. On some issues, including abortion and gun control, Americans have grown more conservative since Republicans last won a national election in 2004, while on others — such as on immigration — Americans seem to have become more liberal, Gallup data shows.

In an online analysis, Gallup’s Lydia Saad said the latest survey results “are conspicuously incongruous” with the 2008 election results.

“Which way do Americans want to be led?” Saad asked. “While the new Gallup Poll finds the public reporting a heightened sense of conservatism in its political outlook, Americans’ specific policy positions have not changed much since 2004. To the extent they have, about as many of these positions have become more liberal as more conservative.”

She added, “And for those seeking to understand why the Republican Party suffered such major election losses, they may find that political ideology has very little to do with it.”

The report cited previous Gallup data and compared Americans’ views and positions on various issues today to those in 2004. Among them:

— Abortion (51 percent describe themselves as pro-life in the latest survey, compared to 44 percent who answered the same way in 2004).

— “Gay marriage” (57 percent say it should not be legal; in 2004, 55 percent answered that way).

— Traditional values (48 percent say the government should promote traditional values, a 7 point decline since 2004, when it was 55 percent).

— Immigration (39 percent want the level of immigration into the U.S. to decrease, compared to 49 percent who answered that way in 2004).

— Gun control (49 percent want gun laws kept the same or made less strict, a 4 percent increase since 45 percent answered that way in ’04).
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. For the complete Gallup survey, visit http://www.gallup.com/poll/121403/Special-Report-Ideologically-Moving.aspx.

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  • Michael Foust