Poll: Conservative edge shrinking
By: Jonathan Topaz
May 28, 2014 06:36 AM EDT
The conservative advantage on social and economic issues is shrinking, a new poll says.
According to a Gallup poll on Wednesday, more Americans still identify as conservative than as liberal in those two areas, but the gaps between conservatives and liberals are the smallest they have been since the polling firm began tracking the question 14 years ago.
Thirty-four percent of those surveyed say they are conservative on social issues, compared with 30 percent who say they are liberal, but the 4-percentage-point gap is continuing to shrink, decreasing by 1 point since 2013 and 6 points since 2012.
The conservative edge on economic issues has declined from 31 points in 2010 to 21 points in the most recent survey.
The closing gaps in both areas largely come from registered Democrats increasingly identifying themselves as liberal on social and economic issues.
“Conservatism is still the dominant ideology in the U.S. when Americans are asked to describe their political views overall and when asked about their views on economic and social issues separately,” Gallup wrote in its analysis. “However, the conservative advantages are shrinking, in large part because of Democrats’ increasing likelihood of describing their views as liberal rather than conservative or moderate.”
Gallup added, “With the conservative advantage on social issues down to four points, it is possible in the next few years there will be more Americans describing themselves as socially liberal than as socially conservative. This movement is consistent with trends Gallup has seen on specific issues, perhaps most notably Americans’ views toward gay rights and legalizing marijuana.”
The Gallup annual Values and Beliefs poll was conducted May 8-11 with 1,028 adults on landlines and cellphones. The margin for error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.