Politics Magazine

A Plurality Of Democrats Now Identify As Liberals

Posted on the 22 February 2019 by Jobsanger
A Plurality Of Democrats Now Identify As Liberals
A Plurality Of Democrats Now Identify As Liberals
A Plurality Of Democrats Now Identify As Liberals
At the turn of this century, a plurality of Democrats identified as moderates (42%), while 32% said they were liberals, and 23% claimed to be conservatives. That has changed significantly. Now the largest group in the party are liberals (progressives) -- a plurality of 46%. Only 35% are moderates and 17% are conservatives. That's a 14 point growth for liberals, and a 7 point drop for moderates.
As the top chart shows, that switch in ideology occurred between 2007 and 2012, when 39% said they were liberals and 38% said they were moderates. The second chart shows that trend toward liberalism was apparent in both genders, all age groups, all education levels, and all race/ethnicities. The bottom chart shows the make up of the party by group and ideology.
This means liberals will have a larger voice in choosing the 2020 presidential candidate than in quite a few years, and the chance of a liberal (progressive) being nominated are pretty good.
I offer one word of caution. While liberals are the largest group in the Democratic Party, they are not the largest group in the voting population at large (and neither are conservatives). The largest group are moderates. The Republicans became an extremist right-wing party, and that hurt them in the last election. Democrats should not make the same mistake.
While it is likely they will nominate a liberal, it should not be one that moderates think is an extremist. Moderates like most Democratic policies right now, but they don't want radical change. If the Democrats nominate someone viewed as an extremist, it will give Trump a chance to be re-elected that he shouldn't have (because many will vote for the devil they know over the devil they don't).
I'm not saying we shouldn't nominate a progressive. I will vote for one myself when the primary rolls around. It just needs to be a progressive that doesn't scare moderate Independents (who will determine the next president).
The charts above are from the Gallup Poll. Here is the methodology:
This analysis is based on combined data from Gallup’s multiday cross-sectional national telephone polls conducted each year from 2001 through 2018. The surveys are representative of adults aged 18 and older, living in the 50 U.S. states and District of Columbia. The results are summarized in six-year periods and include interviews with 73,303 Democrats for 2001-2006, 48,195 Democrats for 2007-2012 and 32,830 Democrats for 2013-2018. Results based on these samples have margins of sampling error of less than ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

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