More Americans Identify As Liberals, Fewer As Moderates

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Medicare signing 1965 NA
President Lyndon B. Johnson (left) signs a bill creating Medicare, the health insurance program for senior citizens, as former President Harry S. Truman and former First Lady Bess Truman look on, 1965.

While Americans are still more likely to call themselves conservative, the number of Americans who self-identify as liberals is higher than ever.

According to a new Gallup poll, 23 percent of Americans stated that they would identify themselves as liberals, a higher percentage than any time since Gallup began measuring the ideological split in 1992. At the same time, 38 percent of Americans identified themselves as conservatives, and 34 percent as moderates.

more liberals According to Gallup, Americans are increasingly more likely to identify as liberals.

Also of note is the decline in self-identified moderates. Since 2004, moderates -- previously the most popular political faction in America -- have been disappearing, as more and more people identify as conservative or liberal in their place. In 1993, moderates made up 43 percent of Americans, down to 39 percent in 2004 and only 34 percent in 2013.

“Since 2009, conservatives have consistently been the largest U.S. ideological group,” Gallup says of the change.

Many of the changes in the ideological landscape come from the Democratic Party. In 2000, 44 percent of registered Democrats called themselves moderates, while 29 percent said they were liberals and another 25 percent identified as conservative. Since then, though, conservative and moderate factions of the Democratic party have shrunk severely to 19 and 36 percent, respectively. Self-identified liberals are now the largest ideological wing of the party at 43 percent.

democrats Democrats are more likely to call themselves liberals

According to Gallup, the rise in American liberalism is almost exclusively due to shifts among Democrats. 

“Independents are no more likely now than in the past to describe their political views as liberal,” Gallup says. “The main change in independents' views is that they increasingly call themselves conservative.”

In 2008 and 2008, American independents saw a huge upswing in those that identified as conservative. Independents are still more likely to identify as moderates, but those numbers are quickly closing. 

independents Independents increasingly label themselves conservative

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of self-identified liberal Republicans remains small and largely unchanged, though Republicans are increasingly likely to call themselves conservatives. In 2000, 62 percent of Republicans identified as conservatives, while 31 percent identified as moderates and 6 percent as liberals. Today, those numbers stand at 70 percent conservative, 23 percent moderate and 5 percent liberal.

republicans Republicans have become increasingly conservative since 2000.

“Americans' perceptions of their political views -- if not the views themselves -- are undergoing unmistakable change, contributing to greater political polarization in the country,” Gallup writes.

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