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Is America really becoming more conservative?

If I were a conservative, I would probably tout the new Gallup study showing that conservatives now outnumber moderates, as Bill Kristol did in his column on Tuesday. But I’d be wary of making too much of what is a rather small shift in the ideological self-description of Americans. And out of curiosity, I checked around with other pollsters to see what they were finding. The results were mixed.

First, those Gallup numbers: Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate, and 20 percent as liberal. “This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group,” Gallup reported of its study based on combining16 surveys for a sample of 16,321.

The shift from 2008 is hardly startling. Conservatives were up three points from 2008, moderates down one and liberals down two. On the other hand, the country was ever so slightly less conservative in the most recent third quarter of the year than it was in the second quarter: According to Gallup, the conservatives’ advantage over moderates went from 6 points in the second quarter to 3 points in the recent quarter. It’s not exactly clear which way the trend is running.

Of course these are all small shifts, and that’s the point: We are not going through some ideological revolution.

I was curious how Gallup’s findings squared with those of other pollsters, so I asked Jon Cohen of The Post and Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center to run some of their numbers for me, which they kindly did.

In the 2009 Post/ABC News surveys, moderates still lead conservatives. The average for the year: 39 percent moderate, 36 percent conservative, 22 percent liberal. In only one survey did the conservatives “lead” the moderates, by 38 percent to 36 percent. Conservatives will be happy to know that was in the most recent survey.

At Pew, Keeter divided his surveys in half, from January to the end of June and from July to the present.

In the January to June surveys (involving 10,630 interviews), the Pew numbers were: 37.9 percent moderate, 36.9 percent conservative and 19.7 percent liberal

In the Pew surveys since July, there was a shift (of 1.6 percent) toward the conservatives. The numbers were: 38.5 percent conservative, 35.5 percent moderate and 20.1 percent liberal.

Keeter described the 1.6 percent shift toward “conservative” as “on the borderline of statistical significance” and the movement as “glacial.”

It’s important to note that there is a debate over what these ideological labels actually mean to voters. And polls that give respondents the chance of calling themselves “progressive” produce a substantially larger number on the left end of the spectrum, since many who won’t pick the “liberal” label do call themselves “progressive.” A study earlier this year by the Center for American Progress found that when progressive and libertarian were offered as additional options, the country was split almost exactly in half between left and right.

The upshot of the recent polls is that conservatives can be pleased that they are very much in business, and they may be doing just a bit better with George W. Bush out of the White House. But shifts this small and inconclusive shouldn’t make the headlines. In particular, when everyone analyzes (and spins) next week’s elections in Virginia, New Jersey and New York’s 23rd congressional district, they should rely on the local exit polls and actual votes and not on these marginal shifts in national polls. I’d also caution against overanalyzing the results from these contests, but such a warning would be useless: of course these races will be overanalyzed, and I’ll probably be guilty doing some of that myself.

By E.J. Dionne  | October 28, 2009; 12:37 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

For some persons there is worry over the dangers or risks of change. That's not the same and being conservative, it's a negative reaction.

Posted by: jonstephens | October 28, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Mr. Dionne, Americans are in a period of reorganization. Being totally liberal or totally conservative is akin to being an extremist, which is exactly what most liberals and conservatives have become.

Main Street America has finally gotten tired of being pushed and pulled from both ends and needs a breather. Liberals and conservatives are both looking back at the past eight years and wondering if they went a little overboard. It looks like we're headed for an era of political reconciliation around the country. We all accept the fact that we've been divided for far too long and some buoyancy is in order.

Posted by: dudefromthebronx | October 28, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

I believe the words "Liberal" and "Conservative" have been so abused over the last forty years, they no longer have any meaning.

The other problem is both words have more than one definition. I oppose divorce, adultery, and having children out-of-wedlock; I am uncomfortable with the word "marriage" being applied to gay couples but believe that if such couples are in a monogamous relationship, they ought to have the same benefits as a married couple. I am personally opposed to abortion and were I party to a pregnancy, I would insist on other alternatives. On the other hand, I cannot know the circumstances any woman facing that decision is in; nor can any government. I would leave that up to the woman, her doctor, and her conscience.

I believe that private enterprise and the market is great for allocating non-essential resources; however it falls way short on providing essential resources. I believe that everybody deserves an equal opportunity at success; however, the market does a poor job of insuring that. I believe success deserves compensation, but not to the extant that others who work for a living can't pay their bills.

I believe that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Therefore, no man has a right to deny those rights to anybody else.

So what am I; a conservative, a liberal, or a moderate? I call myself a pragmatist!

Posted by: risejugger | October 28, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

If I were to respond to a poll asking whether I was conservative, moderate or liberal, I would have to ask what issue was this in regards to. I am conservative on some issues, liberal on others, and moderate on many.

Posted by: paris1969 | October 28, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Aaaahhh c'mon Dionne!

Can't you see what this is? every since WaPo poll showed that only 20% of Americans consider themselves Republicans.

Hey for all we know the Gallop Poll is done by mostly white males

Conservatism will never come back. White Angry Men are the only one's left in their party....

They lost the Jewish vote, gay vote, black vote, latino vote, young vote, and they may have lost Daffy Duck vote!LOL

The Conservative Party is trying to pick their (Republican booty) off the ground.

Please the Democratic Party out registed Republican voters in 2008.....

Polls are now conducted to people with landline phones so any polls conducted without the Technology to poll cell phones and computer surveys - aren't legit!

AND BESIDES I AM SO SICK OF POLLS!!!

JUST SHOW ME WHERE TO VOTE - THAT'LL SHUT ALL THOSE DARN POLLS DOWN!!!

Posted by: danson1 | October 28, 2009 2:23 AM | Report abuse

You know why more people are conservative..because less of them are far right nut jobs. Want proof. If 40% of American's polled call themselves conservative, but only 19% call themselves republicans what does that say? To me it says 21% of the conservatives DON'T CONSIDER THEMSELVES republican. So, a conservative today doesn't mean anything for a republican. The republicans are so far right and extreme, they have lost 21% of there core voters who now don' want anything to do with right wing extremism.

Posted by: kubrickstan | October 28, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

According to these poll numbers, conservatives and moderates outnumber liberals 3 to 1. Of course, you can also make the case that if moderates are combined with liberals, they together would outnumber conservatives by an equal amount. The people who feel like they are not represented in the Congress are moderates, held hostage by extremists on both ends of the political spectrum.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | October 28, 2009 4:24 AM | Report abuse

"Is America really becoming more conservative?"

Better question/headline would be "Does America really want to become what Obama wants America to become?"

Posted by: ahashburn | October 28, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Progressive or conservative? It varies on subject. It is possible to be "all of the above" as I am. Health care reform-liberal, abortion-conservative. I think that the American voter does exactly as I do. The candidate that most closely gives a voice to my beliefs is the one that I vote for. I tend to support the progressives at this time because the conservative are just "no" people. I I want my voice to be involved in the debates and conversations, not just absolutely no on everything. It is irritating to me in the current debate, "where's the beef?" There is a solution to every problem we face, but when so many news organizations give a very slanted view on every issue. It becomes a battle to distinguish the "real truth" in almost every issue that is being put on the table. I hope health care reform with a p.o. passes but I realize that the majority will probably loose here,again.

Posted by: lifecoaches | October 28, 2009 5:58 AM | Report abuse

You just keep comforting yourself with your interpretation, Dionne. Just have a stiff drink ready in 2010 when the Dummycr*ps are swept out of office in a tsunami of American repugnance and rejection of obummer's marxist agenda.

Posted by: segeny | October 28, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

The real problem is that Americans can be generally fickle, and most don't really understand the differences between liberal and conservative. If I had to guess, I'd say most Americans are somewhat of a mix, conservative on some issues, and a little more liberal to moderate on others. As for me, I think the Republican Party has completely gone off the deep end, so I now vote a straight Democratic ticket. I consider myself fairly moderate, more to the left of center. The GOP has become too cult like, too extremist. I don't like the fact that social conservatives, like say Bob McDonnell, think they have a right to impose their narrow views on the rest of us.

Posted by: ggwalt | October 28, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

No, but the media is becoming ever more reflexively spastic. Talk about navel gazing...

Posted by: leajones99 | October 28, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

The error for the right wing here is to assume that those who identify themselves as "conservative" identify with the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and should automatically be assumed to be fans of Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and the like. This is clearly not the case. To call one self "conservative," as one poster above notes, does not necessarily mean "Republican," as the statistics indicate. The news here may in fact be that the present-day, self-described conservative populace is beginning to make a significant break from the Republican Party, and even more sharply from the far right wing of that party, which ironically seizes on the results to lay claim to a large swath of the population. Bill Kristol hinges his tether to yet another sinking ship.

Posted by: Cristian1 | October 28, 2009 6:17 AM | Report abuse

The real problem is the term 'conservative'. What does it mean?

Fiscal conservative? Social conservative? And who are the Republicans appealing to with only 20 percent support?

The GOP tied itself to those 'conservatives' who believe in, "starving the beast." And they paired with those who find government the best arbiter of birth control and other moral questions.

After 28 years of self-styled conservative rule, we've got 12 trillion in debt along with more hot words and violence. We've got a shrinking middle class. We fight wars on credit. We allow usury as if only the borrowers will be hurt.

I'm not sure what conservatism means anymore. I doubt the people being asked do. It's as much a buzz word as is liberal.

But the people know something went wrong with 'conservative' Republican rule. Twenty percent identification with the GOP. The people apparently like 'liberal' Democratic politicians better than 'conservative' Republican ones. And that's the reality the word 'conservative' can't hide from.

Posted by: kcbob | October 28, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the optimist. I'd bet that EJ, at a picnic, would argue that liquid precipitation from a cloudy sky doesn't mean it's raining, "it's just a little atmospheric condensation."

There is, and always has been, good reason to believe that the people of the US are fundamentally conservative. Not scholastic or doctrinaire conservatives, mind you, but intuitively conservative. This explains why so many Americans can be described as hypocritical when it comes to social entitlement spending. On the one hand, they believe people ought to work for their bread, and to be able to keep the lion's share of the fruits of their labors; and, on the other hand, they believe that the senior citizens' bus, Medicare and SSI are all good ideas. A scholastic or doctrinaire conservative knows he can't have his cake and eat it, too.

There is also something to be said about the ambiguity of conventional labels. A hallmark of formal conservatism is believing that personal liberty and responsibility should be as great as possible, and that government power and influence should be as little as possible. It is certainly possible for government not to stick its nose into questions such as, "Should I have an abortion," or, "May I marry someone of the same sex I am." Ask a formal conservative the right questions, and he'll give answers to make Angela Davis proud. There are a lot of bigots, though, who misconstrue their determination to pass laws about how other people choose to live their lives who describe this impulse as conservatism. It isn't. On the same token, a lot of people who have this kind of live-and-let-live attitude who think it makes them liberals. Not necessarily.

An informal political conservative wants to earn his bread, and he wants everyone else to do the same - and he wants government to leave him more or less alone. A formal political conservative wants this, too, as well as holding certain convictions about the fundamental premises of the Revolution and founding of this country that its actors believed in.

On these terms, EJ, we are a conservative people, and left-leaning adventures like the one we're having with Obama only remind us of it.

Posted by: dryrunfarm1 | October 28, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

COMMIE-STEALING WILL DO THAT, E.J.

A president who, in the middle of a near-depression, attacks major groups in business and health care -- and things should not change?

E.J., you need to get outside the Beltway. You're lost.

"The Chicago Way" of STEALING, GRABBING, TAKING, and TAXING is done.

Posted by: russpoter | October 28, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

It will be the Obama fascist enforced socialism that will destroy this country as we know it unless the people wise up and vote he and the Pelosi and Reid gang out. This is not mere politics. Change to this Triad is bringing down the very things that made America the greatest country in the world and turning us into a socialist third world country of slaves to taxes, regulations and Big Brother.

Posted by: mharwick | October 28, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne, though not a statistician, has this one precisely pegged (congrats!). If you look at the long-term trace of that poll, it is clear that grand average, since 1992 at least, is that about 39% of America calls itself "conservative" (again, when asked against the other choices given, which is a relevant issue). Gallup doesn't list their sample size on that page, but even assuming a generous one of 1,000 adults, that means a margin of error of 3%. So even given no underlying change to the population, this is not just within the MoE but just about dead on the previous mean.

So William Kristol's editorial the other day was basically crowing about noise. Which isn't too different than being, itself, noise -- which we were already accustomed to with him.

It's also a valid point that the collosal failures of the Bush administration probably had a few conservatives embarrassed to admit their ideology during the period of 2006-8, depressing the historical average. These shy wingers however have moved on, and have been woken up by the perceived "socialism" they are having hammered into their skulls every evening by Hannity, O'Reilly et al. So they're back to expressing their usual identity. Film at 11.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 28, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

If I were you E.J. I would be also trying to downplay the notion that the nation is shifting to a more conservative bent. The left has much it wants to do and a limited window to work with its hands on virtually all the levers of power in Washington D.C. And I suspect you are correct that the change is minimal. But that should hardly give you liberals a reason to celebrate. All that does is validate the concept that the Obama "mandate" was really never to run to the left because he only won the election with the help of a large number of moderates who were (rightfully) recoiling from the horrors of the Bush Administration. A lot of those moderates are now (just as rightly) recoiling from the Obama pro-government/anti-market agenda.

Posted by: Lukey | October 28, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

December 16,1773 was the day of the Boston Tea Party. The Sons Of Liberty were protesting the Tea tax.

The British Empire forced the Colonies to buy Tea from ONE Company. The East India Tea Comapny owned by the EMPIRE.

They closed down the colonies Wholesale Tea companies. This started the American Revolution. Taxation without represintation.

The Empire forced WE THE PEOPLE to buy a product "HEALTH CARE" from ONE source. The EMPIRE did away with the FREE MARKET system.

This is the time the COLONIST started to drink coffee instead of TEA.

Boycott GM and any Bailed-out bank. Do not take anything from this EMPIRE as far as a Tax-Credit. Do not buy any GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE PLAN.

It is the "GOVERNMENT STUPID" that is becoming "THE EMPIRE". EMPIRE'S "RULE" like what a CEO (CITIZEN) can make,what kind if Car (GM) you can buy and TEA you have to drink!!!

The Tea Party was an ANGRY but non-violent protest. The Empire was the first to use violence and establish laws that took away more of WE THE PEOPLE'S RIGHTS.

TERM LIMITS NOW!! FAIR TAX NOW!! and SEND IN THE TROOPS NOW!!

Posted by: 79USMC83 | October 28, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Opinion writers need to be more creative and cease trying to pigeon-hole people with labels. As currently in vogue, the terms liberal and conservative are virtually meaningless as means for accurately defining a politician's or an opinion-writer's views. William Kristol is more anti-logical than he is conservative, more liberal in making assertions that have little or no basis in fact or sound reasoning than he is in making sure his writing is tight, that is, concise and accurate. Also, his writing is more elitist than most; he seems actually to believe that he and like-minded observers know more than anyone else about what is good and right for America. And that is dangerous!

Posted by: andrewpatejr | October 28, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Since the world and its customs are vastly different now than they were 100 years ago, 300 years ago, 3000 years ago, the conservatives are like the Dutch kid with his finger in the dike, oblivious to the waters all around and even behind them. Conservatism is more a wish, out of misplaced fear, than a realistic goal.

Posted by: johnnormansp | October 28, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"There are lies, da**** lies, and polls." Yes, I know the last word should be "statistics" but polls fits just fine.

I a 72, a registered Independent for many, many years, have voted in every election (city, county, state, federal) since I was 21 and have NEVER BEEN ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN A NATIONAL POLL!!!!

I trust polls about as much as I trust politicians - does that give you a clue as to what I think of their veracity?

As far as liberal vs. conservative - many of us are part one and part the other. Regulation vs. de-regulation, pro Roe v. Wade or against it, pro gay marriage v. one man and one woman marriage - the list could go on forever, it seems. There are many shades of gray between 100% conservatism and 100% liberalism.

Posted by: Utahreb | October 28, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with dudefromthebronx comment "Main Street America has finally gotten tired of being pushed and pulled from both ends and needs a breather."

Liberals "those who currently whine the loudest and getting most attention" assume everyone who does not agree with them are right wing. Well no we aren't. They do not realize the vast majority of Americans ride in the middle. We are coming out of our slumber because we are tired of their whinning. We don't want the leftest views being pushed on us and are starting to fight back. We don't want to be told how to live and what we should think. It's about time!

Posted by: apatriot6 | October 28, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

many conservatives describe themselves as independents...
and will vote for the candidate that best describes their politics...
with obama's and the dem's performance and with 30 milllion plus unemployed...
there is a reason more people will go conservative...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 28, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

There's more right with America than wrong with it. But the things that are wrong come from both the right and left at the expense of the vast majority of middle Americans.

Take illegal immigration. The right likes the cheap labor source. Left likes their votes for more social services and civil rights orientation. The average person sees them consuming taxes and taking jobs from the least-skilled Americans.

There's a radical center who thinks both parties need an overhaul.

Posted by: WmarkW | October 28, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"We are not going through some ideological revolution."

Funny, that's not what Dionne was saying a year ago when his beloved messiah was crowned.

If we're NOT "going through some ideological revolution," then that is a stunning reversal for Obamism.

Posted by: thebump | October 28, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse


Of course, America always becomes more "conservative" when white folks feel threaten from without and within. White supremacists close ranks against those who threaten "their way of life", and go against what they perceive as the wishes of the "founding fathers", with the emphasis on "fathers". People are more conservative now, especially, because they believe their "president" is giving away their country, to the rich and the poor, and the middleclass has to pay for both.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"The Empire forced WE THE PEOPLE to buy a product "HEALTH CARE" from ONE source. The EMPIRE did away with the FREE MARKET system."

79USMC83, please get clued in to what you're talking about. A public option would be a government run PAYMENT (ie, insurance) system, NOT a government-run health care system. Please try to understand the difference. You might even have even MORE choice of whom you see (doctors, hospitals) than you currently do under the more restrictive insurance plans.

The "public option" is just taking the expensive middleman (ie your insurance company, which needs to constantly suck a good deal of your money away to keep its executive class in the Lexuses and Armani suits to which they have become accustomed) and replacing it with a non-profit middleman. The public option also likely wouldn't need to be spending your premiums on all those expensive but pointless (to us) commercials you see, in which the various corporate middleman fight over which parasite operation gets to skim your health care dollar.

Can you see the light yet? Dress up like an Indian and wave tea bags around in your spare time if you must, but please get informed about what you are raving about. Thanks (on behalf of your countrymen).

Posted by: B2O2 | October 28, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

But, what about those of us who are fiscal conservatives, strong on defense and personal freedom, but a little more moderate when it comes to social issues? As a conservative, it's my ideals of personal freedom and the government staying out of my bedroom that makes my decision about gay marriage. I really don't think it's anyone's business except those who are directly involved in the matter. If you don't like it, don't go look for it. I'm not gay, but who am I to ge tin the way of another American's happiness? As for abortion, I feel the same way. I want the government to leave me to my freedoms, as I believe it should when it comes to abortion. If it's wrong, let God smite those who do it. I'm against abortion personally, but why should our government limit our freedoms? There has to be a place for people who feel the same as I do..... doesn't there?

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

EJ, it doesn't matter what poll you use...bottom line is that you liberals are a tiny fringe minority of America.

And you just can't stand that or understand it.
Baaaaaa. Baaaaaa.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | October 28, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Calling yourself a "progressive" doesn't really mean much when you have the same ideological values as "liberals". It might make you feel good, but in the end it's the same old (vinegary) wine in a brand new bottle. I have a hunch that a lot of former "liberals" have shied away from the progressive label too, and now consider themselves as independents, because they no longer share "liberal" values and goals. As went liberalism, so will proabably go progressivism.

Former democrat now a libertarian.

Posted by: txoh | October 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

B2O2 - Wow. You're REALLY pretty brainwashed there, aren't you? If Obama walks out on the steps of the White House and kills a baby, you'd swear it had it coming, wouldn't you?

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

txoh - The only problem I have with a third party, as it stands now, is that you have no voice. You have no representation from your city / county commissions all the way to DC. There's only one independent in the Senate, and he's no Liberatian. Until there's a third party with some bite to it, with some real pull that can get some representation (that aren't nutjobs), it stands little chance......

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The conservative slant of the country is largely a matter of semantics. Peoples position move back and forth through the ideological spectrum based on the issue they are considering.
Why the Republicans are polling so low is a separate matter, we some examples of why in this thread. They developed a reputation for being divorced from reality in the middle of the decade and have done little to reverse that opinion. Backing the insurance industries demands for "status quo" reform is wildly unpopular and a difficult platform to run on.
That, and their leadership (Bachmann, Quitter Palin, RNC Chairman Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Comfort woman Glenn Beck) are largely certifiable and you begin to see that 19% may not be rock bottom after all...

Posted by: dijetlo | October 28, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

What's the definition of "conservative" these days?

If it's being a Neo-Con like Kristol (and by the way, the word "con" in French is slang for "idiot"), well, most Americans don't want any part of it.

So this poll is totally useless without a strict definition of "conservatism".

Posted by: Gatsby10 | October 28, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Is keeping Americans enslaved to the insurance industry a brand of conservatism? Is keeping the infant death rate higher than it is in Cuba a brand of conservatism? Is keeping the life expectancy well below that of Canada’s a brand of conservatism? Is keeping a health care system in tack whereby more and more Americans are left without affordable health care a brand of conservatism? Is hammering and diminishing the middle class a brand of conservatism? Is saying that the best way to insure all Americans is to provide them with jobs and then pursue policies whereby millions of jobs are lost a brand of conservatism? Is giving huge tax cuts to the rich whereby they can then deposit such windfalls in Swiss Vaults a brand of conservatism? Is standing by to rake in blood money from keeping the infant death rate high, which blocking reforms is sure to do, a form of conservatism? Is it the goal of conservatism to keep blocking reform and leave the elderly uninsured no option but to be shown where the grave is at?

The American voters should in no wise be permitted to forget the abject and horrid mess that the GOP/conservatives left. They weren’t content to just leave a drunken puke of a mess, foreign and domestic, but they have compounded the matter by refusing to help in cleaning up. They have, in effect, stated that they wish for the efforts to clean up their colossal mess to fail. And, they are seeking to bring about that failure by standing shoulder to shoulder, all of them, on the sidelines throwing rocks at those, who are doing the cleanup work.

If this is the level of lack of sense of responsibility, lack of patriotism and lack of common decency that more and more Americans are aspiring to, then, God help us all. The Reverend Wright is oh so right.


Posted by: vmonroe_valnesio | October 28, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

People dislike change. That does not make them Conservative in the Kristol or Bush or Cheney sense of the word.

For example, tell the Conservatives that Social Security, the VA, and Medicare will be abolished. That is 'sound Conservative' policies; at least according to the Kristols of the world. I will bet anything that the vast majority of the 'Conservative' public will object and come close to revolution! We are already treated to numerous Republicans claiming that Health Care reform will damage Medicare!

Remember what happened when Bush said in 2005 that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security: how far did that go in the Republican controlled House and Senate?

So, people are conservative in the sense that they resist change, not in the sense that they want the government cut.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | October 28, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I favor fiscal discipline, the use of military for defensive purposes only, an energy policy that rewards conservation and encourages renewable resources, sensible regulation of commerce, a focus on jobs and education as opposed to government hand-outs, the preservation of habitats and environmental stewardship. That would make me pretty conservative, no?

Posted by: FalstaffsMind | October 28, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I think people are becoming realists and pragmatists. We are cynical about ideology (right or left). We are cynical that our government is working to protect us and benefit us (or is it really the fat cat industries that get served by our government and government leaders themselves). We are cynical that there is no "shared sacrafice" in our society. We are cynical that those with the loudest voices (the media/the talking heads) really have any message worth listening to.

Posted by: brt30 | October 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

These NUMBERS and your OPINION have two things in common: They don't mean SH*T.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

not a scientific poll but it would seem that most of the commentors on here who say they are conservative are realistic and flexable about it. Like -yes we want smaller government which means staying out of private bedrooms, and clinics. But it seems like some 'conservatives' are just spewing GOP talking points along the lines of "Tell the Government to keep it's hands off of my Medicare", and silly insults that furthers the preceptions of ill-informed, uneducated, indoctrinated GOP base members, who vote and protest against their own prosperity.

Posted by: katem1 | October 28, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Based on what criteria? These are just self-definitions and meaningless out of context.

If Americans are more "conservative", why is it they over the last decade:

They go to church less?
Are more likely to call themselves atheist/agnostic/apathetic religiously?
Are more in favor of gay marriage?
Oppose antigay discrimination more?
More likely to believe in climate change?
Have banned public smoking in most major cities?
Elected a black man president?
Switched 50+ House seats and 15 Senate seats away from the GOP?
Are more in favor of alternative energy sources?
Favor increased regulation of Wall Street and banking?
Want a much larger government role in health care?
Want Social Security and Medicare reinforced?

These are not exactly issues that Sarah Palin espouses.

If this is a more conservative America, then FDR is retroactively relabeled as a conservative.

Posted by: AxelDC | October 28, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

If the American people are so Conservative why did Barack Obama and Joe Biden trounce John McCain and Sarah Palin in the last election?

(crickets chirping)

Posted by: cllrdr | October 28, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

AMviennaVA - Had Social Security and Medicare never been introduced I think you'd have a point. No true conservative would stand for the creation of such a government entity. But, Social Security has been around since the 1940's and people have been FORCED to pay into it as of their first paycheck. To shutter it now would be a crime to those who were FORCED to pay into the system. Bush had it right on Social Security. Privatize it for future generations THEN shut it down. Medicare, I'm not so sure about. The elderly need help with spiraling healthcare costs, and no insurance company would cover them. I feel, as a conservative, that the only people in this country who DESERVE free healthcare are children (can't blame them for having lazy, stupid parents), the elderly, and our service men and women. I whole-heartedly support the VA. It's a valiant service that out fighting men and women deserve. I only wish it wasn't run like a government entity..... we all know how that works. For those who want govenrment-run healthcare, visit your local VA for awhile.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Natural Eb and Flow Ying and Yang.
The Libs pushed too hard too fast and now it is going to roll back over top of them.

The Republicans did the same thing and Obama was the result.

Posted by: rexreddy | October 28, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Two brief comments regarding polls:

1.Figures don't lie, but liars figure.

2.People change their minds more frequently
than they change their underwear.

Posted by: lobern | October 28, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

As I said yesterday, "conservative" is a word with no meaning. I would describe many Americans as scared, ignorant, worried, and greedy. I THINK they are in the minority.

Posted by: rusty3 | October 28, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

cllrdr - John McCain is hardly the most conservative member of the republican party. I dare say there are some blue-dog dems that are more conservative than McCain. Most, chose what they thought to be the "lesser of two evils", some bought into the hype of a very green politician who talked a big game (when in front of his teleprompter). NO ONE voted for Biden, he was just along for the ride.....

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

If the American people are so Conservative why did Barack Obama and Joe Biden trounce John McCain and Sarah Palin in the last election?

(crickets chirping)

Posted by: cllrdr | October 28, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse
##################################
Because they were the wrong candidates for the job.
But then again so is Obama / Biden.

Posted by: rexreddy | October 28, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that many of the comments tend to be from the "polarized" left or right. America seems to be a generally centrist nation. The more the far right tries to turn a conservatiove bent into an endorsement for one of their stand-and-deliver principles like abortion, the more the centrists say, "whoa -- not me." The same applies to the far left.

The current shift is probably a reaction to the left seats of power derived from the 2008 election.

The good newes here is that America is, at the end of the day, America -- great, diverse, opinionated, and reluctant to be too totally branded by one of a couple of ideologies. Like a body fighting an infection, the GOP took a big hit because of Bush. And so will the Dems.

Interesting about the election is that Obama and crewe got about half the votes. But, only about two thirds of the voters actually voted. That leaves Obama with something akin to one third of the people's active support -- and that on the coatails of a disasterous administration. Hardly a mandate -- but a hand that they are trying to play to the fullest. And in doing so will inevitably begin to alienate the moderate middle who may have voted more "less right" than "more left."

Posted by: DOps | October 28, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Soros and McCain are kinda "Buddy-Buddy"
They worked on the McCain / Kennedy Bill together. I wonder how deep those ties go?

McCain started to gain popularity unexpectedly and Sarah was supposed to self destruct due to her inherent nature.
But instead she added a little to the ticket and did much better than she was supposed to. Now we are stuck with her as a media magnet.

Posted by: rexreddy | October 28, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

rexreddy - I tohught McCain was dead in the water early on. What lifted him before Palin I'm still scratching my head about. When came election time, I looked at both men's past, political views, and experience and voted McCain. I knew in a time of crisis having a "newbie" at the helm would be a mistake. Looks like I was right.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

25% of Democrats call themselves conservative. What good does it do the GOP if there's a slight uptick in Independents calling themselves conservative? By definition, they aren't Republican.

The GOP should be wondering why so many "conservatives" don't want a thing to do with them.

Posted by: nodebris | October 28, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The Post's cleverly title forum POST PARTISAN should be renamed HOW I USE FACTS TO SUPPORT WHAT I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Kristol ane Dionne are, like most of your writers, really smart folks. Except there is nothing more ignorant than allowing your ideology to interfere with the objective workings of the mind.

Please consider a forum called I KNOW THE CONCLUSIONS I WANT TO MAKE BUT BRAVE, INTROSPECTIVE VETTING OF MY DESIRES CAUSES ME TO, AT TIMES, CONCLUDE OTHERWISE.

That would be fun. Start by sacking Kristol, Krauthammer, Dionne and the rest of the partisan predicables. They don't illuminate a subject, they darken it with their cloud of partisan thinking.


Posted by: mbus | October 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Actually, now that I think about it -- I think we should ban the use of the terms "conservative" and "liberal." And for heaven's sakes, ban the term "progressives." These labels are becoming somewaht akin to bigotry. All Dems are not far left loons any more than all GOP people are far right loons, any more than all southerners are racist bigots or all African Americans embrace the Reverend Wright's style of hatred.

Maybe the poli-sci theory for the day is that the era of governing a country by being the Captain of one of two opposing teams, dueling to the death on the gridiron, identified clearly by the color of their uniforms has passed.

America is so diverse and the world is so much more complex and connected than in our naissance. It seems to me that the leadership style needs to be more that of an orchestra conductor, coaxing harmony out of a cacophony of diverse instruments, than that a field commander. No one is happy at a concert if the bassoons win.

The difficult Congress has had getting a lot of critical things done in the twenty years may be due to this kind of sea change in geo-politics. The world changed but no one told Congress or the administration.

Posted by: DOps | October 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

65% of the American people support a public option as a part of health care reform. It's nice to know that a large percentage of "conservatives" reject the GOP's relentless attacks on health care reform. What all these numbers might actually mean is something we may have suspected all along -- to be "conservative" is NOT the same thing as being "Republican."

Posted by: stan3 | October 28, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

It kind of depends on how you define conservative. If a week ago I became 20 points more liberal and now don't feel like changing, might I describe my position as conservative? Individual self perception of such subjective qualities, seems next to meaningless. On the one hand I could look forward to a more liberal America, while at the same time feeling pretty conservative about it. :)

Posted by: Whys | October 28, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Is everyone so enamored with the fact that their comments were posted on the Washington Post that they don't want actually discuss the article? All you people do is throw out your comment and then wait to see it post. You don't want to discuss the topic at hand, you CAN'T discuss the topic. It's your view, all others are wrong. THIS is what's wrong with America today: The lack of discussion. This adminstration furthers this belief by attacking anyone who opposes their view. Guess I can't blame some of you who drank the Kool-Aid®.... you're just taking after your Messiah.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

There may well be a number of people who identify themselves as Consevative who don't believe the GOP pursues policies that are remotely close to that doctrine. Perhaps we've entered the era that Conservative voters start "staying home" on election day until such time as "true" Conservatives start offering themselves as candidates.

Posted by: Odquest | October 28, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the republicans and the rightwing nuts misread the entire.

We are all more 'conservative' about needless wars; wrapping things in the flag to sell them; graft, greed, waste, fraud and abuse than the previous administration....and the boyfriends that brung it.

We are all more conservative about investments, cause we now have far less, thanks to the previous administration; and we are all more conservative about financial institutions that rape the people and pay themselves billions.

We will have them regulated, we will have the Constitution restored, and we will have equality in American life for all our citizens. We will no longer accept that the ruler of the free world can be 'elected' with the politics of personal destruction.

If the financial institutions and the insurance companies, and Big Pharma want to cry alligator tears about it, they should remember that they killed free enterprise with greed.

Posted by: dutchess2 | October 28, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

As a conservative who set aside the Kool-Aid. I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. Yet the Democratic Party offers nothing to attract my attention or support. Neither party represents my views.

The two party system is a Hydra, a monster with 9 heads and when one is cut off two grow back. The easiest way to slay this Hydra, is by not feeding it.

Feeding the Hydra, has polarizes and divided this country, thus making it larger and powerful. To remain in power, the Son of the Hydra in Congress, throw scraps of charity to the masses while feeding the masses, by enslaving us, our children and grand-children, to powerful concerns.

Congress’s liberal spending, whether its charity for Wall Street or hot water heaters is obscene. Congress is full of greedy, holier than thou, self-centered Sons of the Hydra; who swear to uphold the Constitution but fail to uphold the principles of the Constitution. Charity begins at home, not in the seats of the capitol. If an elected official wants to give money to charity, then take the money from his pocket but not mine.

As long as the masses, liberal, moderate, or conservative are fooled by the empty words coming from the nine headed monster, we all lose, and this will be the downfall of the United States.

The people must take back Congress. To accomplish this end, one must put aside his tribal politics as I have done. Read the Constitution, study the writing about it and our forefathers. It is what it is,no more, no less.

GOVERNMENT IS A NECESSARY EVIL.

Our republic is a Hydra. It must be feed with scraps like a dog or it will become an out of control monster devouring and destroying everything in its path.

It is time to starve the Hydras.

Posted by: txnintn | October 28, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The polls are meaningless. People use terms like conservative and liberal and have no idea what they are talking about. A more meaningful measure is approval ratings of the political parties. Only 9 percent of the those polled by Gallup thought the Republican Congressional members are doing a good job. The Dems were not doing great but were much better than the Republicans. Individual in Virginia, NJ, and NY will be extrapolated to mean more than they should. Deeds is a poor candidate who has not mobilized the Democratic base. That has nothing to do with anything other than his ineptness as a candidate. I predict a low Democratic turnout in Virginia because Deeds has not energized Democrats.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | October 28, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

dutchess2 - Step away form the Kool-Aid® stand for Jebus' sake..... You just gone from a free-market economy and the American way to socialism. There are issues, and truthfully, a free-market can and will fix it. There's no competition anymore. This govenrment over the past 20 years has allowed businesses to grow and merge to a point where they're "too big to fail". Don't blame one party for this, blame ALL sides. Don't blame just republicans for the greed - they weren't the only one's cashing in. Blame the government, blame business, blame the taxpayer who got greedy with stock payouts. It's everyone's fault and we DO need to fix it. But, the free-market economy has has been a world model for 230 + years is not to blame.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

DarthRandall @ October 28, 2009 9:28 AM: As I recall, no one in 2005, or between 2001 and 2006 for that matter, even suggested a way for privatizing Social Security, or MediCare. As I recall, Medicare was expanded to include an additional (though unfunded) benefit!

Just as a refresher, the Republicans were against privatizing Social Security, and the 'Conservatives' were non-existent.

That is why I maintain that people are not Conservatives, they simply resist change.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | October 28, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

txnintn - Now THAT is a great post!

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Not long ago I would have answered no. Then I got on Facebook.

Posted by: mattintx | October 28, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Also keep in mind that people like to call themselves "moderate" whenever they can. Some conservatives and liberals like to call themselves moderates although they are not. Because of the media and universities, the word conservative today is used to associate with being close-minded, so a lot of moderate conservatives choose the word moderate instead if they feel that the pollster is liberal leaning. Remember people like to please the pollster, they may do it unconsciously, but they tend to do it. And I don't think people like the word "progressive" better than liberal. A lot of people try to avoid the word progressive. Progressive, to most people, means extremely liberal. I think liberal is the best and most common word for the leftists to describe themselves, at least in this country.

Posted by: kemsamathida | October 28, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Good grief. You make it sound like a race.
Last time I checked we were all in this together.

Posted by: Gary12 | October 28, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

AMviennaVA - And that's a fair assessment. Bush offered it up in a State of the Union address and Congress laughed at him. I understand that our government has not looked out for our best interest in the past, and they certainly aren't doing it now. Your refusal to blame both sides of the aisle for the ills of our nation was what I was complaining about. To expect our government to fix the problems they are partially responsible for, and have no way of understanding, is a joke. Leave it to the people of this country, give them the freedom and the power, and it will get fixed.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice if we simply were Americans, rather than right and left, conservative and liberal, republican and democrat. It feels like soon we will be killing each other based on our political persuasions. Nobody seems to see the solutions to our problems as actually residing within ourselves. We have finally become what our founding fathers tried to prevent, namely fools who really know nothing about the system they tried so hard to put in place. That focus has been destroyed by ignorance and greed.

Posted by: robertmerry | October 28, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the US IS getting more conservative. This condition is linked to the fact that the US is getting dumber as well.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 28, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"The Empire forced WE THE PEOPLE to buy a product "HEALTH CARE" from ONE source. The EMPIRE did away with the FREE MARKET system."

79USMC83, please get clued in to what you're talking about. A public option would be a government run PAYMENT (ie, insurance) system, NOT a government-run health care system. Please try to understand the difference. You might even have even MORE choice of whom you see (doctors, hospitals) than you currently do under the more restrictive insurance plans.

The "public option" is just taking the expensive middleman (ie your insurance company, which needs to constantly suck a good deal of your money away to keep its executive class in the Lexuses and Armani suits to which they have become accustomed) and replacing it with a non-profit middleman. The public option also likely wouldn't need to be spending your premiums on all those expensive but pointless (to us) commercials you see, in which the various corporate middleman fight over which parasite operation gets to skim your health care dollar.

Can you see the light yet? Dress up like an Indian and wave tea bags around in your spare time if you must, but please get informed about what you are raving about. Thanks (on behalf of your countrymen).
###############

B202: Show me in the Constitution that the "GOVERNMENT STUPID" is a CORPORATION??

How do you know something that is not a bill yet will work like you say???

I already go to a "GOVERNMENT STUPID" health care system. The V.A. My doctor is assigned to me . Nice man but the Chinese accent is hard to understand. Six months to get a colonoscopy. It was out sourced to a specialist two hours away.

You copy and paste just part of my comment. The whole basis was about the "GOVERNMENT STUPID" is trying to "RULE" us and not defend or protect us.

Do not take the "GOVERNMENT STUPID" as a personal ATTACK. It is my protest MOTTO!! Towards the "GOVERNMENT STUPID" It is not about HEALTH CARE,ECONOMY it is about "THE GOVERNMENT STUPID" way before the "SPEECH GIVER" got in office. He is just WORST than the rest!!!!

TERM LIMITS NOW !!! FAIR TAX NOW!! SEND IN THE DAMN TROOPS NOW !!!!!

Posted by: 79USMC83 | October 28, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

adrienne_najjar - Did you come up with that yourself, or did you lift that from Joke Biden?

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

When anything is measured on a spectrum, there must be something to compare against. Compared to the current set of "conservatives" the majority would claim moderate or liberal. When compared to the current set of "liberals" the majority would claim moderate or conservative. By my observation there has been a polarization of the electorate - 25% liberal, 25% conservative and 50% in the middle. So the middle tends to move between these two poles as circumstances and events change. The "real" observation to me is that the shift towards the "liberal" pole has been so short lived. This could change if the WH moderates its behavior towards anyone that does not agree with them, rids itself of those "czars" too biased to be acceptable, and starts to live up to its campaign promises. Good Luck!

Posted by: fcrucian | October 28, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What you're seeing is people standing up to obama's vision of "Amerika."

Posted by: wmpowellfan | October 28, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

79USMC83 - You've got my vote.....

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

fcrucian - Good luck with ALL that..... It's always been this way - 25%, 25%, 50%, but past adminstrations haven't isolated those in the other 75% of the equation quite like this administration has.

Posted by: DarthRandall | October 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Of course, America always becomes more "conservative" when white folks feel threaten from without and within. White supremacists close ranks against those who threaten "their way of life", and go against what they perceive as the wishes of the "founding fathers", with the emphasis on "fathers". People are more conservative now, especially, because they believe their "president" is giving away their country, to the rich and the poor, and the middleclass has to pay for both.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

---
you stupid fkn bigot.

Look at the numbers you scum sucking racist.

you don't think all ethnic groups are included in those numbers. Both liberal AND conservitive.

HOW FKN STUPID ARE YOU.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | October 28, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The real news is that only 20% call themselves Liberals yet Pelosi is attempting to inflict that 20% ideology on the American electorate. That's the real story. That is why I expect to see those moderates voting for Republicans.

Posted by: hz9604 | October 28, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the US IS getting more conservative. This condition is linked to the fact that the US is getting dumber as well.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 28, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

--
Naaa, just people don't want the US to end up like California.
You know, paying with I.O.U's because the tax base can not keep up with the goverment spending.

God, I hate liberals.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | October 28, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Conservative in your approach to family and life does not mean you are a Republican. After 8 years of uncontrolled spending, Greed, and corruption. The whole world is a little more Conservative as the excesses of the Bush era have led us to collapse. Regular Americans have learned a valuable lesson about Greed & the American elite. Big business, CEO's, Banking, Wall Street, the Insurance Industry. None of them are looking out for the best interest of regular Americans!

Posted by: minco_007 | October 28, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

One thing I forgot to mention is that:

A lot of people here say things like "I'm fiscally conservative; I want government out of my bedroom and clinic; I'm pro gay marriage and but against government taking over health care, etc." That kind of philosophy is called libertarianism. Many libertarians either identify themselves as conservative or moderate if libertarian is not an option.

Second, although America is one of the richest countries and has one of the best higher education systems, many Americans have no clue what it means to be a conservative or a liberal. For example, I have a friend who has a master's degree in education but always thinks that liberals are more for free trade than conservatives are. As much as he hates the Obamacare, he calls himself a moderate because he thinks conservatives are against free trade.

Third, the best way to figure out how many people are actually conservatives or liberals is to ask them about how they feel about some key issues and how important these issues are for them, then calculate their conservativeness or liberalness for them. For example, I'm a pro-life and I'm pro-life all the way, which means I'm also against death penalty. Does that make me not a conservative? Of course, I'm a conservative, because even though I'm against death penalty, the issue is not very important to me compared to other issues like health care, tax, free trade, etc.

The bottom line is people are not as smart as we think they are in understanding poll questions and pollsters themselves aren't that smart either.

Posted by: kemsamathida | October 28, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"For some persons there is worry over the dangers or risks of change. That's not the same and being conservative, it's a negative reaction."

Excellent point. The GOP has been appealing to people with that reaction for the last three or four decades. The reaction has a superficial resemblance to the principle of small government. But it really favors limiting government on economic issues, and then only on those issues that affect those people directly. On social issues, their positions translate to big government with the purpose of attempting to stop social change or even reverse it.

Posted by: Carstonio | October 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't make sense to be a conservative.

There is nothing left to conserve.

Posted by: RadicalGlove | October 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I am such a rabid conservative that I believe government has no business involving itself in personal decisions such as whether or not a woman may choose to have an abortion.

Posted by: TheProFromDover | October 28, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

America has been awakened by a threat of socialism being perpetrated on the American people by a undocumented immigrant.
If you support obama, I will not support you.
The line in the sand is being drawn and the liberals will be dealt with at the next election.
America cannot afford obama.

Posted by: spiris333 | October 28, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

the question is: What IS America?

those with power and a voice in government? those who can work behind the scenes, acquiring contracts, jobs, and exert control on foreign policy? those who define what marriage is and is not?

is "America" also the millions of undocumented immigrants who live under the radar, take the work others won't do, and have little recourse in confronting wrongs and crimes because of their status?

does this analysis of America look to those under 18 years of age, their cultural norms and expectations? or do opinions only become relevant when the larvae hatch into potential voters?

does "america" include the millions imprisoned for non-violent offenses, some as felons, stripped of their rights to vote? are these people counted as to how they describe themselves?

these questions aside, i think people are just people and full of contradictions and personal exemptions that defy labels.

for the sake of this rather fuzzy litmus test, i'd put "moderates" and "liberals" in the same barrel: 56%. those who identify themselves as moderate are by definition flexible, which makes them open to circumstance and instance of personal value.

those who call themselves as conservative like the pigeonhole and cult of narrow thought. even when they waver toward liberalized actions in their own lives, it is backed with hypocritical justifications, lies and coverups, or ignorant brushoffs.

everyone is both liberal and conservative.

after all, cannibals are all meat eaters, but how many meat eaters are also cannibals?

Posted by: forestbloggod | October 28, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is people are not as smart as we think they are in understanding poll questions and pollsters themselves aren't that smart either."

Recently, one of the Post's spinoff sites reported on this theory by social scientists: Self-described conservatives tend to view issues terms of authority and hierarchy, in binary terms. Self-described liberals tend to view issues in terms of diversity of opinions, in shades of gray. I couldn't find the link to the article.

Posted by: Carstonio | October 28, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

from all of the talk here about a backlash against Obama the so-called socialist, you would think that the poll numbers would be moving faster than "glacial." Now, polls are far from perfect but they do pick up major swings. A major shift in political ideology isn't happening because of Obama, whatever your day dreams may be.

Posted by: goexplode | October 28, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The author's interpretation of the recent Gallup Poll is most welcome.

It is, however, difficult to tell if the nation has moved to the right because George W. Bush was an illegitimate president who was never elected by the people. So using that administration as any type of measure or criterion of movement necessarily gives false results.

Posted by: francis4 | October 28, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think the Republicans need to look at the divergence between the number of self-identified conservatives and the number in their party and do some serious self-examination. There are a number of individuals such as myself who are self-identified conservatives who are sufficiently appalled by the right wing liberalism that was manifest during the Bush II years that the idea of giving Republicans control of the government is repugnant. True conservatives are much more inclined to identify themselves as Libertarians these days and to reluctantly conclude that Democrats are the lesser of two evils at this point in our political history.

The truth for Republicans is that until they get rid of the wingnuts, they will be too radical for many conservatives to support.

Posted by: scott032 | October 28, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

A number of of points here to keep in mind with ANY polls. There is a margin of error of +- 1 pt. So variations of 2% are even smaller given the variance. Also there have been serious questions raised about the validity of said polls: most of the polling is done over land lines which not many younger people use. This biases most polls towards the older generation.

Posted by: glitch83 | October 28, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Is there anyone who epitomizes the low level of discourse in this country better than DarthRandall? He laments the shallow discourse here, and then throws out the most juvenile attacks at people. I tried to describe to USMC above that there was a big difference between a public option insurance plan and "government run health care". Darth you then spouted that I was "brainwashed" by Obama and then something about him murdering a baby. This is the kind of discourse you wish we would have?

Look in the mirror, buddy.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 28, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The Right made "liberal" a dirty word, so now there is an entire generation and a half who reject that term to identify themselves in favor of the term "conservative". It would do these people well to consider what that really says about their views that they identify with a party which promotes itself as conservative, and as part of that identity still clings to the principles underlying the now infamous "Southern strategy". That so-called strategy espoused hate and intolerance of anything or anyone who was not white, male, protestant, or rich. It denounced the role of any government to actually provide societal and community security in terms of health, jobs, equal opportunity, and equal access to resources. Instead it prided itself on being as intolerant as possible and promoted a goverment and social credo which was basically a social darwinism philosophy.

Some of the very people who identify with the right (and so-called Christian and family values) are beneficies of government aid, or are victims of abusive families and relationships. Yet, if they had their way, there would be no resources available, nor would there be any level of awareness, let alone concern for their plight. These people are ignorant of history. A history as short a time ago as the 1930's when there was no unemployment insurance, no social security, no medicare/medicaid. In short, none of those basic social safety nets we take for granted today and which are derisively terms as "entitlement" programs. The only reasons the politicians on the right do not incite their followers to call social security and medicare/medicaid an 'entitlement' program is because they are well aware that the seniors vote and are politically active--they are afraid of that voting bloc.

We also now have laws which protect basic civil rights--which if thanks to conservatives they would not exist--and yet, these same self-described conservatives yelp at the first incident which they perceive as impinging upon their civil rights. They voted for people who opposed these laws. The irony (or raging ingorance) is astounding.

I do know that some out there who identify themselves proudly as conservatives and wallow in the ignorance and harm to their own self-interests it represents will be a little upset by being called on their own inconsistencies and downright hypocricies.

As for me, I'm proud to say I'm a liberal. I think if one really looked at it objectively and in the context of the times, one would also conclude that Christ was a political liberal. I consider myself in good company.

Posted by: map529 | October 28, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

1. If we understand the Bible and military history, the United States of America is Military Industrial Complex (MIC) under the leadership of Moses and Abraham, then, you would know why the Conservative Revolution is sweeping this nation.
2. The American people are tired and have battle fatigued fighting wars that kill our children, the wars of the Crusades. They desire peace and transquility as outlined by the United States Constitution through strength. The principles of Conservatism destroys the element of chaos and confusionism seeded in our society. The way is clear with strong conseravtive leadership.

Posted by: sterlinggo1 | October 28, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In case you missed this post:
***
You know why more people are conservative..because less of them are far right nut jobs. Want proof. If 40% of American's polled call themselves conservative, but only 19% call themselves republicans what does that say? To me it says 21% of the conservatives DON'T CONSIDER THEMSELVES republican. So, a conservative today doesn't mean anything for a republican. The republicans are so far right and extreme, they have lost 21% of there core voters who now don' want anything to do with right wing extremism.

Posted by: SwingState | October 28, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm a retired military officer, and neither a Democrat nor a Republican. If polled, I'd answer conservative on national defense, economics, and any number of other issues.

But I voted for Obama, and the way I see it at this point, I'll probably vote for him again if he runs in 2012.

Why?

Because the Republican Party has gone completely fringe, and really doesn't offer much more than a rehash of the same 20+ year old ideas. Those ideas were viable when Ronald Reagan took office, and they remained viable for some time. But the world has changed, and the problems facing America have changed. We need new ideas, and the Republican Party doesn't seem to be able to handle that.

The Democrats aren't much better, but I believe they're a little more adaptable at this point than the Republicans are (or are likely to be any time soon).

So yes, I am conservative. But not in any way that Bill Kristol might take comfort in.

Posted by: rwjones52 | October 28, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

glitch83, good catch that basically corrects my much earlier post. I did not notice the sample size they used, which is an astonishing 16K or so, pretty unheard of these days (actually an aggregate of a bunch of polls). So this meta-poll is actually pretty reliable (+/- 1pt is pretty good). But even with that point, "40" could be in reality actually 39, which is just the same as the long-term average (eyeballing it, since I don't have their raw data).

So the only story here is that during the last couple years of Pres. Worst, even some conservatives were starting to doubt themselves, but now that the memory of Worst is fading somewhat, they are back in the fold. Stop the presses, "America returns to political alignment of 1992-2006" is the big huge story here.

Yawn.

Posted by: B2O2 | October 28, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

.
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No... the large percentage of Americans are simply stupid.

When asked questions (poles), they will respond on the basis of current issues and/or conditions, NOT personal convictions.
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Posted by: A-Voter | October 28, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The country swung too far right with Bush and then so far left with Obama that we are off the charts now ...Its time to move back to more conservative values.... and thankfully Americans are doing just that. We are sick of illegals running up crime and medical bills...we are sick of the lazy who think they are entitled to welfare for life and we are sick of the radicals who are currently running our country and apologizing for everything American. We are great because our ancestors worked hard - they didnt condemn this country - they added something to it..... Obama should remember that next time he plans to trash America to the world. Go back to Kenya if you dont appreciate America Obama.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | October 28, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The failure of the Republican Party is due to trying to force their natural allies into too many pigeon holes at once. Few thinking people really believe in the whole party line of either party, so if you attempt to force your candidates to march the party line, you are going to drive away most people.

I would generally be considered a liberal, but I break with doctrine on several issues.

I used to be a Republican but they lost me on several issues.

1. The anti-intellectual and anti-science propaganda is a non-starter.

2. The Environment, Nixon pushed the Clean Water and Air Acts, what happened to the Republicans.

3. Bad Governance, Big government may be bad, that doesn't mean you refuse to enforce laws to the best of your ability as is your sworn duty. If a law is bad, change it, don't ignore.

4. A Tax cut is not always the solutions, taxes are not always too high. Cutting Taxes is not the moral way to reduce the size of government, reduce spending then taxes, the reverse is TREASON.

5. The race, class and sexual orientation baiting tactics.

6. Family Values agenda, and the insane lies about the Gay Agenda.


It basically comes down to an utter collapse of morals among the Republicans in their tactics. The Democratic Party tactics are far below what should be the minimum, but the Republican Leadership clearly puts winning above any moral standard.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | October 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

When people are asked to categorize themselves politically, it is important that they know the meaning of the terms used in the various surveys. It might shock you to find out how most people define the terms conservative, liberal, and moderate. I suggest that the three terms be fully explained before people are asked to describe themselves. The change in the result would be alarming.

Posted by: fasm7700 | October 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"I suggest that the three terms be fully explained before people are asked to describe themselves. The change in the result would be alarming."

A common misconception is that socialism simply means big government, or a great deal of government regulation of free enterprise. True socialism would mean total elimination of free enterprise with the government owning and operating all businesses. While I have concerns about the federal government acquiring stakes in banks and car companies as part of the bailouts, even those moves don't qualify as socialism.

Posted by: Carstonio | October 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I find it difficult to categorize my politics neatly since I have wide ranging views. I know I am more left than right. Maybe I can be called a moderate overall.

One thing I am firm about, I do not like to be described as "conservative". To me that description is a pejorative. Conservative to me means being behind the times, old fashioned, lacking in imagination and creativity, and rigid. Just my view.

Posted by: Obadiah55 | October 28, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

There are actually two other words that should have been included in the poll; "Radical" and "Reactionary."

As moderates and conservatives identify themselves as Democrats; they hold the "Liberals" in check; while the Republican party is stuck with nothing to hold the "Reactionaries" in check. As far as I can tell there are no "Radicals" in either party. As long as we have our current electoral system, we will have a two party system. The two parties used to be coalitions of interest groups that had some things in common; but not all things. That resulted in true bi-partisanship because both parties contained "Liberals," "Moderates," and "Conservatives" that could find common ground on some issues. For instance Republicans from Michigan supported the auto companies and Democrats from Michigan represented the UAW. Issues where the companies and labor were on opposite sides, resulted in partisanship. However, when something threatened the industry as a whole, they would come together.

FDR did not pass the New Deal legislation with Democratic support, since Congress was dominated by conservative southern Democrats as Committee chairs. The coalition that passed the New Deal consisted of liberal, urban Democrats and Progressive, rural Republicans. Why? Because both working people and farmers had common problems associated with the Great Depression and both groups had big problems with Big Business. In fact, besides Social Security, the primary legislation still in affect from the New Deal is government involvement in agriculture. On the other hand, FDR relied on the southern Democrats in trying to prepare for WWII, since the Progressive Republicans were isolationist and forced the ill-fated neutrality acts on the US.

As the Republican party becomes more dominated by "Reactionaries" who insist on ideological "purity," they become less and less viable as a major party because too few people are narrow enough to fit their mold. The Democratic party will become an even more diverse coalition then it already is and legislative battles will occur within the caucus or in the primaries. This already occurs in defacto single party states.

The Libertarian party will absorb the Wall Street wing of the old Republican party and the Republican party will go the way of the Whigs.

Posted by: risejugger | October 28, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

No America is not getting more conservative, it's the Media's owner s who have being just covering the crazy town hall screaming.
Where were those conservatives when Bush was spending like Drunk sailor in the past 8 years, suddenly all of them are worrying about the deficit.

Posted by: tqmek1 | October 28, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I equate "conservatism" with virulently narrow-minded racist, homophobic, and xenophobic views. If that's what we're becoming, then heaven help us. American conservatism is based on preserving rights and privileges for the majority. And I suspect because we somehow managed to elect a black president, many citizens are dusting off their conservatism. Hence, how could a country seriously consider such an inane, idiotic, and ridiculous personage as Sarah Palin to be spokesperson and a leader?

I wish we were an enlightened, more egalitarian society. I doubt that will happen.

Posted by: Antoinette3 | October 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Americans are becoming more Conservative in favor of order, both Social Order and Economic Order. That does not mean they favor the Status Quo. It actually requires a significant change in social and economic controls, to recreate harmony among American institutions which have culminated a destructive battle for power that has been won by the powerfulo financial institutions.

It is now for us to see whether the financial institutions, which have been the most liberal in their irresponsiblility to American Society, can themselves become Conservative (Ordered) to serve holistic society.

Posted by: RPW3 | October 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't read too much into polls that use nebulous labels like "liberal" or "conservative." Many of us change positions according to the issue at hand.

Also, I know that very few women under the age of 40 would call themselves a feminist, but most appreciate the priveleges and rights that feminism fought for. Feminism has been so successful that many women take it for granted. "I don't burn my bra, or use terms like 'partriarchial society,' so I must not be a feminist, right?"

Likewise, many who identify as conservatives appreciate the 40-hour-workweek, child-abuse laws, or social security, but don't equate these things with liberalism.

Posted by: outragex | October 28, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Americans become conservative when they get large doses of liberalism in action. Lyndon Johnson and his so-called War on Poverty with its massive spending made Americans conservative. Jimmy Carter and his 20% inflation rate and his inaction in the face of Iran's taking of the US embassy made Americans conservative. Obama and his spending of not millions or billions but trillions of dollars we don't even have, will make Americans conservative. Liberals never change -their obsessive desire to create utopia out of thin air (plus a few taxes) is a mental illness.

Posted by: mhr614 | October 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There are conservative democrats as well as independents and republicans so equating conservative with republican is where posters above go wrong. Conservative candidates can win 49 states such as Nixon and Reagan. Dems never put up a conservative so their high water mark was the Imposter Kenyan Communist Messiah who is self destructing as we speak.

Posted by: mascmen7 | October 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The real question is why have all Coservatives left the Republican Party?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Conservative? Oh, please. To be sure, most of us support gun ownership and are opposed to any new gun control laws; actually want a lot of the existing ones rolled back. But, we're pro-gay marriage (and anti-domestic partnership), still want legalized abortion and don't want government intervention in abortions in any case. We are, as a group, "America Firsters" and are opposed to the global economy, opposed to outsourcing and guest workers (and the idiots in COngress haven't caught onto that, yet. Oh, well, a number of them will loose their jobs in 2010 over that issue; THEN, they will "get it"). Most of us have views reflected on the Daily Show and Lou Dobbs and consider the Post's editorial writers, the Democratic and Republican leadership, left and right wing activists, to be quaintly out-of-touch or, worse, in bed with the Wall Street-corporate enemy. After 8 years of Bush, we learned not to trust government and most of our current institutions, especially our employers, banks, credit card companies, and corporate entity. Obama and his team of "Multinationists" has confirmed that belief. The twits at the Post think this is something new and unique to the under 30 crowd, but I'm 62, and most of my friends echo these belief's. It's the way we survive as we watch the parasites, the crooks, the self serving bloated ticks that compose our leadership class wreck this country.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 28, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised that a slightly higher percent of Americans consider themselves conservatives but are they the far right Limbaughists or Palanites? I don't think so It would be interesting how many of these considering themselves convertives voted for Obama.

Posted by: browneri | October 28, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

This is why Palin will be the perfect candidate for 2012. She is the only Republican who does not waffle on the issues.

Deep in your heart you know she's "right".

The right woman for the right job at the right time.

Palin 2012.

Posted by: 4AbetterAmerica | October 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Conservatism is a mental disease. Off to the FEMA camps for re-education.

Posted by: dcp26851 | October 28, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The Post is constantly filled with nonsense based on measurement error. The changes over time here are of trivial importance. They probably represent measurement error and year to year changes are less important than longer term trends. Yet, the Post has endless articles based on polling data, test scores, etc. that involve endless handwringing over nothing like this. EJ used to be a great columnist, now he's just another Beltway idiot.

Posted by: thebuckguy | October 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the election of President Obama this country has gone through a cultural shock. A wake up call. A reality check. Many people thought they were liberals until they saw what a dangerous far left radical like President Obama can do to a country like America. Before, absorbing the party line was the loyal thing to do if you were a Democrat until President Obama came along. The yes we can crowd cringes every time President Obama opens his mouth. Even when the yes we can crowd attends President Obama's speeches, they sit there with their mouths open not believing what their hearing from the hope and change President. President Obama has taken too much for granted with his election. He thought this country had gone so far left with his election that they were prime and ready to give up everything the Constitution had given them. Make no mistake President Obama wants to be the one to say what Americans can have and what Americans can say. Even the Democrats in Washington are saying don't call us liberals, we're progressives. All due to President Obama. President Obama is the sole person responsible for liberals rethinking their ideology and saying we're liberals but we're nothing like the far left radical President we have in office. In the past everything with the liberals was just theory in how they felt about this country, the people, and the military. President Obama just put those theories into reality and many liberals aren't happy with the course this country is headed. In one of President Obama's speeches he told the liberals, be patient, there's something in it for you when I'm through. Through with what, destroying this country. Or making it bearable for the far left to live in. It doesn't take a Conservative, Republican, Democrat, atheist, gay, anti-American, to say hold on there President Obama. This is where we live. Go destroy another country.

Posted by: houstonian | October 28, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You don't consider this one of your better columns, do you Dionne?

Posted by: reginacoeli | October 28, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Antoinette3, please don’t be act as mindless puppet by defining conservativism as you did. If I was given the opportunity to vote for gay marriage in my state I would vote in favor. All laws must be applied equally to all persons. The law is color blind, hate laws give preferential to specific classes and I oppose them because of that fact alone. Murder is murder and rape is rape. I am a conservative and I am working to self-sufficient lifestyle. I also started a business to create products for the “green” industry. So if you want a egalitarian lifestyle then do it

Posted by: txnintn | October 28, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

By conservative do you mean BEING UNPATRIOTIC and calling anyone you disagree with a terrorist or a Nazi or a facsist or a socialist??? Seems all conservatives want to do is call others names.

How about being an individual for once?? Why can't I just be me?
I want everyone to have access to healthcare. I hate wars (especially when they serve no true purpose other than to try to MAKE other people be like US)
I am Pro-life for myself, but HEY why should I IMPOSE my beliefs on others
I think everyone should be treated fairly - including gays - why should they not be allowed to have the same social contracts as married individuals - no skin off my nose if they have a civil union or even a marriage -won't hurt me one bit.
I hate the bailouts of the wealthy while screwing the poor.

So what does that all make me - conservatives will call be some awful name and liberals will call me something else.

I don't really care.

Posted by: kare1 | October 28, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

risejugger asked:
So what am I; a conservative, a liberal, or a moderate? I call myself a pragmatist!

From your description of yourself, I'd call you a liberal. But then I consider 'progressives' to be farther left than liberals, so what do I know?
I also consider everyone but the right-wing and libertarians to be pragmatists.

Posted by: LauraNo | October 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

fr cllrdr:

>If the American people are so Conservative why did Barack Obama and Joe Biden trounce John McCain and Sarah Palin in the last election?

(crickets chirping)<

Probably because we realized that a VP who is a geographic idiot would be a VERY bad thing. Imagine, the ice queen succeeds McCain, and she QUITS halfway through her term. NOT the sharpest crayon in the box.

Posted by: Alex511 | October 28, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"

This is why Palin will be the perfect candidate for 2012. She is the only Republican who does not waffle on the issues.

Deep in your heart you know she's "right".

The right woman for the right job at the right time.

Palin 2012.

Posted by: 4AbetterAmerica | October 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse "

****

Just what we need in a President. An Alaskan Independent Party supporter who hates the US Government. Perfect.

Please God. Please let this bumbling bimbo be the GOP candidate. Pretty please.

Posted by: dcp26851 | October 28, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse


Of course, America always becomes more "conservative" when white folks feel threaten from without and within. White supremacists close ranks against those who threaten "their way of life", and go against what they perceive as the wishes of the "founding fathers", with the emphasis on "fathers". People are more conservative now, especially, because they believe their "president" is giving away their country, to the rich and the poor, and the middleclass has to pay for both.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

---
you stupid fkn bigot.

Look at the numbers you scum sucking racist.

you don't think all ethnic groups are included in those numbers. Both liberal AND conservitive.

HOW FKN STUPID ARE YOU.
--------------

YOW! The truth hurts don't it. Hey, It is what it is baby. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Some white folks are scared silly about the economy, bank baliouts, and healthcare reform that will give non-whites the same level of healthcare as whites. Those are the most conservatives who believe their rights are being trampled on and they are looking to regain control. They are whining and screaming at the top of the lungs, like you baby. Take a Cymbalta and chill.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The most meaningful, though unmentioned, figure is this;

Half, at most, of the 'conservatives' would claim to be republicans.

There are also some (e.g. log cabin) republicans that would CLEARLY not qualify as social conservatives.

So it's less than half really.

What does that say for the republican party leadership? Nada. In fact, you could call it at least a 50% no confidence vote.

But, if you are Kristol, then this counts as an improvement.

Posted by: Heerman532 | October 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

For the poll to be truly accurate "Conservative" needs to be replaced with the word "Ignorant".

Posted by: burtonpaul | October 28, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It's not just cute that those on the left are forever changing the names of things. Liberals are now "progressives." Global warming? "climate change." Terrorists are now "urban violence engineers," or some such thng. And on and on. Healthcare reform is now "insurance reform." And there's at least an attempt to change the term "public option" to (laughably) "consumer option."

And I don't know what motivates liberals ultimately. But I do know that their constant shuffling of terms for complex issues and concepts makes these issues and concepts even MORE complex. It confuses. Blur the words and you blur their meanings. Which I believe is the point.

And while these rhetorical screens may baffle or tire us, they also make thinking people suspicious of those employing them. Thinking people who sense that their government is trying to get something over on them. These are the people who now are defining themselves as conservative, Mr. Dionne.

Posted by: RossOdom | October 28, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

No... the large percentage of Americans are simply stupid.

When asked questions (poles), they will respond on the basis of current issues and/or conditions, NOT personal conviction.
Posted by: A-Voter, October 28, 2009
------------------------------------------
I agree with you - many Americans are "simply" stupid especially when they do not know the difference between "poles" and "polls." Would you not agree?

Sorry, couldn't resist responding to someone so supercilious, whose command of the English language leads me to believe you are part of that demographic that is "stupid."


Posted by: marine2211 | October 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Dionne must have read the polls that "suggest" that the country is more "conservative." I believe that the country is just not as far to the left as Obama and his vision of "Redistribution of Everything." I may vote a Republican or Independent ticket, but, that is because I believe in fiscal responsibility. I'm a centrist when it comes to social issues. A country is judged by how they treat their very young and their old. I resent Obama making is "Mea Culpa" tour and apologizing for America. I know we are not perfect, but, we sure as hell are better than anyother country when it comes to caring for and giving sustenance to those who are in need. So, am I a Conservative? I don't know. All I know is that I am NOT a Socialist with a "Capital S."

Posted by: marine2211 | October 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

So you really think its changing? It looks all the same to me and this is still spot on re: American culture:

Today, in the prosperous warfare and welfare state, the human qualities of a pacified existence seem asocial and unpatriotic - qualities such as the refusal of all toughness, togetherness, and brutality; disobedience to the tyranny of the majority; profession of fear and weakness (the most rational reaction to this society); a sensitive intelligence sickened by that which is being perpetrated; the commitment to the feeble and ridiculed actions of protest and refusal.

These expressions of humanity too will be marred by necessary compromise - by the need to cover oneself, to be capable of cheating the cheaters, and to live and think in spite of them. In the totalitarian society, the human attitudes tend to become escapist attitudes, to follow Samuel Beckett's advice: "Don't wait to be hunted to hide..."

-Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man

Nothing ever changes.

Posted by: BarryOR | October 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

For the poll to be truly accurate "Conservative" needs to be replaced with the word "Ignorant".
posted by: burtonpaul


I considered responding to the challenge of your arguments, but I find it beneath me and childish at best, therefore not challenging and a waste of time and effort.

Posted by: txnintn | October 28, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Conservatism is the desire for Order that enables predictable cause - effect relationships. That way when we act we know what the result will be -- ultimately if we do not then we live in chaos and have no idea what to do.

Conservatives ask no more of Society than to be what it says it is. We deal with everything else quite well.

Posted by: RPW3 | October 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If Sarah Palin becomes a US President, then I know the US has truly lost its mind. At that point, I will become a Canadian citizen and enjoy decent health care.

Posted by: brt30 | October 28, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse


I'm always amazed when people talk about the "founding fathers this" and "forefathers that". The "founders" and "fores" had no clue that the country would be as diverse as it has turned out to be. The indians were still the majority and most of the country had not even been settled. Blacks were not even considered "people", and were nothing but chattel slaves. So stop talking about a bunch of people who wrote the initial Constitution as if it would only apply to whites only. It is through trials and tribulations that the current Constitution is the document it is today.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Why are more Conservatives registering as Democratic party voters?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If a trend toward conservative means a shift away from moderate Democrat, I can see that's happening. No self-respecting moderate wants to be associated with this current administration, which are puppets ruled by the ultra liberals in Congress. There will be an even greater shift when the pollsters stop having only 20 percent of those included in the polls as Republicans. Most have approx 40 percent Dems, 40 percent independents and 20 percent Republicans. Thinking that only 20 percent of voters are Republicans is a sure way to have an inaccurate poll...boy are they going to be surprised in 2009/2010.

Posted by: hazwalnut | October 28, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

More "conservative?" Give me a break. If the largest federal outlays are for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense and interest on the debt, followed by education, housing, homeland security and transportation, where would the GOP use the knife to balance the budget? Problem is they CANNOT cut these programs and still get elected. Dems and Republicans both simply blow smoke up everyones arsss to get elected, increase the deficit once in office, pay for these programs with monopoly money and then try to STEAL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE FOR THEIR DISTRICTS before the next election. It is our system that is broken and it is not Democrats or Republicans that are going to fix this train wreck. We simply need a new form of government. If there were a margin call from our creditors we would all be living in caves again. Hail Caesar!!

Posted by: mtbunker | October 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

40% may call themselves conservative, but the problem for the GOP is that only 20% consider themselves Republican

Posted by: berghed | October 28, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

As a Progressive Anarchist who recently visited Gettysburg, the Conservative "Majority" is criusing for a bruising.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | October 28, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The universal abuse of statistics and sample polling?

Say it ain't so!

Posted by: trident420 | October 28, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Why has the GOP become so anti Conservative?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Actually Mr. Dionne, the poll shows roughly the same numbers dating back to 1992. Nice job spinning and misleading your readers, but conservatives have consistently outpolled liberals 2-1 for almost 20 years, and the moderate numbers are within a couple of points as well.

I can understand you not knowing this, since this poll is rarely reported by the mainstream media.

For those who would like to see how Dionne is misleading people calling it a "new" poll, here are the 1992-present numbers:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/Conservatives-Maintain-Edge-Top-Ideological-Group.aspx

Amazing how only 20% of the country is liberal, yet libs control the WH and Congress. Be sure to than the media for that, liberals, and keep hating Fox in our center-right country.

Posted by: uclajd | October 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

You have renewed my faith that there are still those in the "media" that do the proper research before expressing a view point.

Posted by: greenmachine1 | October 28, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is this.
Liberals are still a very small minority in this Country and therefore should be treated as such. Not very important. Not at all.

Posted by: websterr1 | October 28, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Fact is that many people describe themselves as social liberals but fiscal conservatives...

Posted by: Citi_Street | October 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank you EJ, for debunking the latest echo chamber drivel from Bill I-only-quote-from-things-that-reinforce-my-own-world-view Kristol. A thorough of the working of the numbers by you is inherently superior to the self-congratulatory rantings of the lesser Kristol.

Posted by: lloydamy | October 28, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the emphasis from conservative columnists and bloggers was on America "becoming" more conservative but that it was and remains more conservative than liberal by an almost 2 to 1 margin - putting it radically at odds with the the direction the Obama WH and Democrat-led Congress appear to be steering the country.

Posted by: sgssbi | October 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

With Conservative disgust with GOP's anti conservative policy growing how small will the Republican Party become?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

There are many posts today, but the few the highway scribe could get through yielded ample candidates for today's "highwayscribery Award for Civic Discussion and Scholarly Discourse."

The are: segeny; russpoter; 79USMC83; silencedogoodreturns; DarthRandall; Tomcat3; and mbus.

Thank you for your insightful and even-handed comments.

(Not)

Posted by: highwayscribery1 | October 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. Dionne the Country is indeed becoming more conservative. A vacuous ultra liberal incompetent with a "compelling personal narrative" in the White House will often do that. It's now time for you to write one of those upbeat pieces of yours on what wonderful news this is for Barack Obama

Posted by: diana11777 | October 28, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of a stupid poll because what's Conservative is different to different people. Heck Andrew Sullivan still calls himself a Conservative.. I thought Chris Matthews was going to fall out of his chair when he said it. What we do know is people still don't like being called Liberal because that brings of memories of LBJ, Humphey, Carter, Mondale and Dukakis. of tax and spend, soft of crime, welfare, and everyones favorite BUSING!!! So yeah fiscally we are more Conservative.. people in general follow Reagan's idea of low taxes and cut spending. It's because Repub didn't act Conservative that they were kicked out in 2006. But socally we are more "progressive." Issues like gay marriage, gay's in the military, legalized pot.. it's here or coming and no one seems to care much.. This country is in the middle but leans right.. the party that can best represent that should do pretty well in the future.

Posted by: sovine08 | October 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

With the Republican party now run by the America hating Limbaugh Sycophants; what is the future for this 20% and declining GOP?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So which am I, conservative or liberal .. I get confused on the definitions. For instance ..

It would seem that, by definition, the conservative would be in full support of allowing people to choose for themselves what's best for themselves .. No government intervention.

It would seem that, by definition, the liberal would cherish life and try to assure fairness and equal treatment for all .. and, of course, make sure the government plays a key role in making that happen.

But think about it. Conservatives want the government to make sure abortions don't occur, and liberals want government to stay out of the picture and allow people to decide for themselves whether the fetus should live or die.

No .. If Gallup calls me, I won't respond unless I'm provided with a fourth alternative answer .. It depends.

Posted by: kcooper35 | October 28, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Having a Saul Alinsky disciple in the White House should cause all Americans to reassess their political views. When Americans voted for change last year, they did not foresee a socialist path for the country. They will reject this drastic change.

Posted by: tsapp77 | October 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The terms conservative, moderate and liberal don't really tell us very much at all. I would guess that the most definable label is "liberal." Those who identify themselves as "liberal" are very clear that they hold certain clear-cut political values such as a woman's right to an abortion, at least in the first half of pregnancy; an expanded safety net; civil rights for gays; and a stronger role for the government in the regulation of the market. But in fact, it's possible to be a "free-market," anti-union liberal, and for a conservative to resent Wall Street and big corporations and to want a fairer deal for average Americans.
Because the Republicans stigmatized the word so much, to label oneself as "liberal" shows a person who's more politically aware and highly identified with politically liberal positions. It's like labeling yourself gay -- you wouldn't call yourself that unless you really knew that's what you are. But even here, as I've pointed out, it's not monolithic.

Moderate means nothing. Moderates often support liberal positions, but can get frightened about those "crazy liberals" when conservatives tell their stories. This is what happened to the health care debate this summer. It's because many moderates' positions are fairly shallow.

Because conservative is the "proper" thing to be in many places in America, a lot of people may call themselves that in the same way they call themselves "Methodist" or "Baptist." Many conservatives may have more progressive economic positions than most Democratic senators. Read Michael Lind to understand this phenomenon.

If there are a few more people labeling themselves conservative right now, it's because Obama is trying to bring changes, leading some people to become frightened and say more strongly "I'm against change"; and because the economy is bad, which is frightening people, and which is increasingly being blamed on Obama, since the actions he's implemented haven't yet brought relief.

Most of all, this just tells us that liberal, moderate and conservative are still labels that have more to do with the culture war than a coherent politics. The only political categories that matter right now are Democrat, Republican and "Independent."

Posted by: OMGalmost53 | October 28, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

With the Republican party not even a conservative party anymore what kind of un-American ativities is it engaged in?

Posted by: walker1 | October 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's not an ideological shift - maybe we're just becoming less of whatever in god's name is wrong with EJ Dionne.

Posted by: heffner35 | October 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

God I hope not, I'm tired of watching us hold on to old ways as times change and we don't adapt.

Times will be changing ever faster as information technologies continually displace other industries and double their rate of increase exponentially.

Once we have nano-assemblers that can "print" physical objects, so much of what we're clinging to will become a joke as obsolescence becomes stark.

It's upsetting, to see so many in the previous generation be completely oblivious to how quickly things are updating as our computing methods reach human levels of intelligence, our ability to manipulate matter (even making meta-materials that bend rules previously thought immutable), our ability to discern the delicate workings of each neuron in the mind, and our access to a compendium of all human knowledge increase!

But, I should probably stay mum, if they figure out that staying alive 20 more years could result in restoring telomeres, they'll still be around in 2109 holding things back.

Posted by: Crucialitis | October 28, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"Conservative" is not automatically synonymous with republican. You can be conservative, moderate or liberal in either of the political parties.

This poll is actually pretty pointless.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions | October 28, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Most people consider themselves moderate whether they tilt one way or the other. The congress Dem and GOP poll in the 20's, but get re-elected in the 70's. The largest growing voter registration is independent, which says neither party is doing a good job.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 28, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Part of the problem is definitions. What was once called a "classical conservative" is now called a liberal, and what was once called "classical liberal" is now called conservative.

Think about it. The root of the word "conservative" is "conserve", meaning keep things the way they are, avoid change. But what is so conservative about wanting to rewrite the tax system, start wars with other countries, eliminate government regulations that have been in place since the recovery from the great depression, destroy the environment, and wanting to privatize everything including the post office which is against the US constitution? If you answered nothing, then you're exactly right. The way we use these words today are strongly against their historical meanings. In fact, calling yourself "conservative" can have any meaning you want it to have. Anyone brave enough to look up these definitions in the encyclopedia will find out that I am exactly right.

Posted by: Jake_D | October 28, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Funny how liberals are in favor of the 1st amendment until they see news they don't like in a headline. Then they want it suppressed. However, despite his attempt to minimize the data I agree with Mr. Dionne that there likely isn't much a shift, and the shift we do see is most likely a reaction to having the most radical left wing man in the history of the nation elected to the Presidency. With the result of 9.8% UNEMPLOYMENT likely to go over 10% and hover in that area for a decades while Obama's massive massive corrupt spending push the nation into a debt and dollar crisis! Someone needs to tell Obama that the answer to ever Domestic problem isn't to throw a few trillion borrowed or printed dollars at it, and the answer to every foreign policy problem is appeasement and a friendly chat! Obama resucitated the word liberal just long enough to really make it a filthy word. Although its not really fair to liberals....since Obama isn't just liberal....he's radical left wing!!!

Posted by: valwayne | October 28, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

PS: Reading the comments above, glad to see that many other people are catching on to the point I made as well. One year ago I was the only person I knew of making this point. Question is, when will the media catch on?

Posted by: Jake_D | October 28, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

jeez, jakey, are they paying you to pollute this blog too? get a life!

Posted by: jasperanselm | October 28, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Poll numbers will continue to reflect conservative resurgence.

The American people are becoming more and more horrified at the nightmare that is obama.

Failing economy, millions unemployed, government take-overs of major industries, increased government invasion of private lives, education, and health care, and the ever increasing death toll of our brave American soldiers slaughtered in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq by terrorists embolden by obama dithering.

Real Americans are conservatives.

And now they are angry.

They will no longer accept the ungodly, socialist agenda obama and his gangster chicago hustler reprobates are perpetrating on this great country.

And it starts in Virginia.

Posted by: 2xy4k9 | October 28, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The way the ultra liberal Obama Administration is ruining things in this country, by this time next year the country will be 80% conservative.

I do have a question though, even in Dionnes most liberal interpretation of polls he say's the country is almost evenly split. If that is the case, why do Washington Post/ABC polls always have 13% more liberals counted in their polls than conservatives?

Posted by: robtr | October 28, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if we are getting more conservative or not. What I do know is that many of us who voted for O'Bama are having buyers remorse. We could not vote for McCain after he cynically chose Sarah Palin as his VP candidate. In any case McCain, who is a war hero, is also pretty stupid and not very intellectual. Palin was a no no and we voted for O'Bama/Biden. But it was obviously a mistake.

Posted by: ravitchn | October 28, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't help wondering why EJ is just waking up to the polls, and it is more than Gallup. It is the RCP ave. It is Rasmussen. It is the Franklin and Marshall one. The fact is, most of the vote in 2008 was anti-Bush and with the 'yutes' of America and the lemming like minorities dependent on the radical socialist pacifist Dems without ever seeing that they are used every 2-4 years around election times, Obama rose to the precipice and is now watching buyer's remorse. Americans are not socialist pacifists. Dems in all 50 states keep raising taxes, hiking spending and in NJ alone, they have the highest property taxes in the nation. Yet, the lemmings will still vote for Corzine. Does that make them liberals? Not necessarily. It makes them fools!

Posted by: phillyfanatic | October 28, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, of course you know,

lots of new conservatives have come out of the woods...the kind who don't wash or read, some of them. The others who woke up to the new era in which they are left behind.

So behind they just...you know, came out of the woods.

Some only love anything that is screaming angry or just screaming. And they gits polled now, a lot, by some. Rasmussen lives on 'em for stats.

To be fair, lots of them washes.

Posted by: whistling | October 28, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe that America is becoming more conservative. I think the squeaky wheel gets the grease from the media. I find it hard to believe that thirty years of conservative policies leaving us with 15 million unemployed hasn't gone without noticed. Americans can not be that stupid!

Posted by: fabricmaven1 | October 28, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Liberals have a short memory apparently. Why do they always act so surprised? Conservatims has always been the majority opinion in this country, and it always will be. We were founded on conservative principles (small limited government, strong national defense, states rights, the power of the constitution, and personal freedom). No matter how many media outlets the liberals control, this will never be a majority opinion for anyone who can think for themselves. Anyone with common sense would agree with conservative policies. Anyone who has ever had to balance their own checkbook that is.

If you were broke and facing bankruptcy, would you give all the money you had, and the all the money you could borrow to someone else? Would you steal money from someone else and use that money to pay bills for other people who wouldn't work like you do? I think not.

Posted by: theonefisher1 | October 28, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Other than doing all he could to destroy America, Barry will be known for virtually single handily (with support from the Socialist led Congress) reawakening the Conservative Movement. Thank You Barry and the Socialists in Congress!

2010 & 12 Cannot Come Soon Enough!!

Posted by: FraudObama | October 28, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

subterfuges and Halloween masks aside, the debate should not be what people would LIKE to be labeled, but what fits the policies they endorse:

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.

That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Message from the President of the United States Transmitting Recommendations Relative to the Strengthening and Enforcement of Anti-trust Laws (wikipedia)

* * *

obama is personable and charismatic, but not a "liberal." he worships the cult of Reagan, and has had no problem incorporating the neo-con New World Order crowd into his administration.

he is enigmatic and designed to confound the senses: one wants to like him (aw, heck)even when his continuation and coverup of Bush/Cheney crimes implicates him in their vast crimes against humanity.

look to the definition of fascism from FDR.

our government, and many governments of the planet, are owned by a select few at the top of a corporate pyramid.

tens of trillions of dollars disappear, and are replenished with the stroke of executive pen; war crimes are all but ignored; political capital is printed by the media like confederate currency.

take off the masks.

this government is not of the people, by the people, or for the people.

the typical political distinctions mean nothing in our 1 party sham system. everyone needs to recognize what is at stake, and reclaim Government by instituting multi-party representation.

and start growing some food because the bigbox won't be open.

Posted by: forestbloggod | October 28, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow the liberals, even on here, show their true colors. They bash all who is against their beliefs. I am conservative and I am proud of what I believe in. So based on alot of the comments here , if you're not liberal or democrat , then you're a nobody in their eyes. Not you nor Obama will ever tell me what to believe. People crack me up nowadays. Either your with this group running the country or they look at you as an outsider. They will be gone in the midterm elections. There's a reason they want to cram this healthcare govt ran crap down our throats before the next elections. They have an agenda period. Is Obama even the President yet? Or is he still on the campaign trail? Hell the later is probably the closest answer to the truth. Can we get a real person to run this WH, that can make decisions without the use of politics aiding them? That to me would be change. A politician doing what is best for the people, that would give alot of people heartattacks if indeed that ever came true.

Posted by: danny_kent74 | October 28, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Bill Kristol has been so wrong, so often, yet fails to see it...engages in so much "special pleading" yet is unaware of it....

He is a paradigmatic example of today's right wing. They hold the tenets of their neoconservatism with utter tenacity. Careful students of science know that *any* hypothesis can be defended against *any* evidence if you're willing to make radical enough adjustments elsewhere in the theory.

They scan the flux of experience uncritically, seeking nuggets however poorly sourced that will support views they long ago decided to hold, and nuggets that detract from the credibility of those who disagree with them.

They wouldn't know scientific method if it bit them on the leg.

Funny thing is, most of them have no religion to speak of, absent their neoconservativism. They *ought* to value scientific method, but they're scholastics in the worst sense of that term, sifting through reams of data with only one thing in mind: "can I find something to support what I believed before I reviewed this data?"

Posted by: douglaslbarber | October 28, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing to me that there is even a debate. We Americans can no sooner shake the conservative history of this great country than a Catholic can shake a guilt laden sermon. We are the same people who produced Abraham Lincoln - whose beautiful speeches invoked the Almighty at every turn. We are the country of Martin Luther King, who asked that we look at character and not color. We are the country who spilled the blood of its youthful promise to liberate countries who'd shunned her not fifty years before. We are inventors, entrepreneurs, policemen, and poets. We strive to climb the highest mountains, explore the deepest ocean depths, and give the most charity to peoples of the world we'll never meet.

We are conservative at heart. We populated unforgiving prairies just to own a piece of land and braved bitter winters to extract a modicum of gold.

Our Boston ancestors were the first to say, "Yes we can" and an entire generation is stating the same thing today (although most are wondering if this president embodies what that phrase means to an American).

Most Americans knew we COULD win in Iraq (and we did) and most believe we still will in Afghanistan. Most Americans believe enough in each other to know that we all have the opportunity to succeed.

Mostly we believe in who we are, where we came from, what we stand for, and where we can go.

We are Americans - and that history embodies conservative values and a God who is pleased at what we have done with his wonderful creation and his desire for freedom and equality for all....

Posted by: taipan91021 | October 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

This poll is not surprising and hardly news. Conservatives have long outnumbered liberals in this country. A slight lead over moderates is not that significant. What should scare the ***** out of Republicans is that while 40% of Americans consider themselves conservative, only 20% consider themselves Republicans. Why? Because the Republicans have been a train wreck over the past 8 years. This is still a CENTER-right country. Always has been. Obama knows this, that's why he is trying not to pander to the liberal/progressive wack jobs that want him to govern from the far left. He knows that's a formula for 4 years and out. Bill Clinton was a MODERATE Democrat.. hence, he was elected twice. When is the last time a liberal Democrat served 2 terms as President? Exactly... not gonna happen.

But.. the Republicans appear to be too clueless, too close-minded, and too stubborn to steer their party in the right direction: consider the absolute mess they have made of the congressional race in New York. Ridiculous.

Former Dem - Former Repub- current independent (waiting for the Repubs to get their act together).

Posted by: groggin | October 28, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

They teach in the schools in other countries that the U.S. democracy was ruined by the presence of a block of nearly 100 million rednecks, the stupidest people on the planet. Right wing dirty tricksters tempted these know-nothings with red meat hate issues and ginned up a political juggernaut which took over and wrecked the country, even toppling the world financial system. So the peoples of the world who are not willfully ignorant, as such, want to know why such a great country would fall so low. My Australian surf buddy arrived to ask me to show him some "rednecks" who he said had been taught to him in his high school as the cause of the U.S. ruin. Yet, we are not even allowed to discuss this in the USA.

Posted by: Walkdmx | October 28, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Dismantling America

By Thomas Sowell

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?


Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers — that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?


Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?


Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?


Does any of this sound like America?
---
Yes, Thomas Sowell is one of the Great Black America Thinkers today.

Thomas Sowell
Ph.D. in Economics, University of Chicago
A.M. in Economics, Columbia University
A.B. in Economics, magna cum laude, Harvard College

Posted by: ekim53 | October 29, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Having felt a deepening concern with the spending melee occurring in D.C., I find myself leaning in a more fiscally conservative direction. I'm not opposed to change, in fact, I'm for it. I am repulsed by foolishness and right now, all I'm seeing in foolishness.

Posted by: ShawninMI | October 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I like the Dionne approach: Analyze the numbers and look at the significance of change.

I also like the comments of those who see that these labels are probably getting in the way of our dialogue. As long as the defining characteristics of "liberals" or "conservatives" are so fluid, what does self-identification mean?

I suggest we stop paying so much attention to our labels and really discuss the proper role of government in our lives.

Maybe if we do that we will have to look at our true beliefs about government and find that we are not that far apart in our expectations.

As long as we look at the pretty, shiny labels and try to find out what is behind them, the powerful will continue to define us.

Posted by: goodgovernment | October 29, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it all depends upon what you Americans mean by the term 'Conservative'. From a Scottish viewpoint all Americans are very right-wing, even your Democrats. The reader who described himself perhaps as a pragmatist has my attention. Political stances have changed both here in this country and in the rest of the UK in recent years. "New" Labour is far more right-wing than the south English Conservative Party, and have gone to war in support of the USA ( or fear of Bush's initial speech content) - unheard of in a Socialist government. Now the south English Conservative Party are putting forward socialist principles. Here in Scotland the Scottish National Party who are in power in Government in Edinburgh seem to take a Liberal viewpoint now that they are in Office. This political scenario is reflected over in Europe too. So the world is going through political change, which hopefully will turn out better than we can see just now.

Posted by: gvahey | October 29, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

These terms are irrelevant these days. I consider myself a social liberal but I'm much more conservative on fiscal issues.

Of more interest to me is that only 20 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Republicans.

As for that Sowell article someone mentioned, I believe that the authority to cut executive pay was established during the Bush presidency, yes, over a year ago.

Posted by: chi-town | October 29, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Americans becoming more conservative? Possibly......Fatter?....most certainly....Less critical thinking? .... Absolutely

Posted by: logcabin1836 | October 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

If America is becoming nmore conservatives does that mean the cops can beat up gays again?

Posted by: Emmetrope | October 29, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

America has always been more conservative. Much more than the socialist Democrats think.

This isn't new news.

Once in a while the liberals sneak one of their own into the White House but it's always eight to twelve years after a Republican has been savagely beaten up by the vast, liberal media.

Barack H. Obama's approval ratings are dropping like a meteor. That's because he tried to fool America.

The liberals bank on having enough fools to get in, just one more time, each time.

Sadly, America seems to supply them, sometimes.

Posted by: battleground51 | October 30, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Democrats win national elections by pretending to be moderate conservatives. Republicans win elections by being conservative moderates.

Democrats lose elections when they go way left as they usually do. Republicans also lose when they nominate liberals or when they act like liberals. That happened with the Bush administration. It also killed McCain, the elderly RINO.

Bush lost the conservative edge and along came Obama. Obama the socialist pretending to be a moderate.

Liberals never win national elections by proclaiming their liberalism. They must hide it.

The first time a pink cloud liberal wins the White House by honestly trumpeting his social agendas to America, at large, I will admit that America has tilted liberal.

Posted by: battleground51 | October 30, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Of course, America always becomes more "conservative" when white folks feel threaten from without and within. White supremacists close ranks against those who threaten "their way of life", and go against what they perceive as the wishes of the "founding fathers", with the emphasis on "fathers". People are more conservative now, especially, because they believe their "president" is giving away their country, to the rich and the poor, and the middleclass has to pay for both.

Posted by: demtse | October 28, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

---
you stupid fkn bigot.

Look at the numbers you scum sucking racist.

you don't think all ethnic groups are included in those numbers. Both liberal AND conservitive.

HOW FKN STUPID ARE YOU.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | October 28, 2009 10:59 AM

Actually, LiberalBasher, YOU'RE the one who's stupid.

In case you need a reminder, the delegates who attended the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota last year were almost lily-white -- You had to look VERY, VERY HARD to find African-Americans, Latinos and Asians among the GOP party faithful.

Likewise, when President Obama addressed Congress on health-care reform, the TV pictures were starkly revealing: There were the Republican members of the House and Senate, nearly all of them white and the vast majority of them male.

And at the "Tea Party" protests over the summer, the participants were -- again -- lily-white. Where were the black "teabaggers?" Where were the Latino "teabaggers?" Where were the Asian "teabaggers?" Did you see any? I sure didn't.

I dare you to call ME a bigot for pointing out what TV cameras revealed to be painfully obvious: That today's "conservative" movement has degenerated into an ethnocentric movement of white people who are having a very hard time accepting the fact that white people are no longer the dominant group in this country and that by the year 2050, will no longer be the majority of this country's population.

Posted by: SkeeterVT1 | October 31, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

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