That Persistent Conservative Majority
George Washington University announced on April 25 its latest Battleground Poll. The single most resilient datum in the history of that poll has been the persistent conservative majority. Nothing has changed. The responses to Question D3 of that poll show that 55% of Americans identify themselves as either "Very Conservative" or "Somewhat Conservative," while 40% of Americans call themselves "Very Liberal" or "Somewhat Liberal." Excluding those who don't know or won't respond, conservatives constitute 58% of Americans.
Every GWU Battleground Poll over the last sixteen years has shown the same overwhelming conservative majority in America. The size of the conservative majority has wiggled a bit over the last sixteen years, but the fact of a strong conservative majority – a majority enough to provide a landslide in any national election – has not changed at all.
This finding dovetails with Gallup polling data, which in every single state-by-state breakdown has shown that the overwhelming majority of states have more conservatives than liberals. As I noted in my February 6, 2016 article, the Gallup Poll in its last seven such state-by-state surveys has always found that conservatives outnumber liberals in at least 47 of the 50 states.
Other polling organizations have begun over the last few years to ask and to report ideological identification in polls. SurveyUSA in its February 2016 50-state poll reported that 40% of Americans consider themselves either "Very Conservative" or "Conservative," while only 21% of Americans consider themselves "Very Liberal" or "Liberal."
State polls, which are typically conducted by state media outlets, show the same surprising results. Consider, for example, the ideological balance in these "swing states" in presidential elections. In Nevada, 37% call themselves "Conservative" and 19% "Liberal." In Colorado, 32% of respondents call themselves "Conservative," and 21% call themselves "Liberal." In Florida, the 2015 poll showed 35% of Floridians calling themselves "Conservative" and 20% calling themselves "Liberal," and in 2016, the poll found that 42% called themselves either "Very Conservative" or "Conservative," while 23% called themselves "Very Liberal" or "Liberal."
Purple states, which Republicans view as probably out of reach, have conservative pluralities. In Michigan. 39% of respondents call themselves "Very Conservative" or "Conservative," while 30% call themselves "Very Liberal" or "Liberal." In Oregon, the 2014 poll showed 27% of respondents calling themselves "Conservative," while 21% called themselves "Liberal," while in the 2015 poll, 27% called themselves "Conservative," and 24% called themselves "Liberal."
Minnesota is often considered an archetypal "Liberal" state, but four consecutive polls by KSTP-TV in Minneapolis covering 2014 to 2015 show that "Conservatives" outnumber "Liberals" in the state by surprisingly comfortable pluralities, starting from earlier polls to the most recent: 33% to 18%, 35% to 17%, 35% to 14%, and 33% to 17%.
Perhaps most surprising is California, in two polls sponsored by SurveyUSA itself, with "Conservatives" slightly outnumbering "Liberals" in the 2015 poll and the two exactly the same in the 2016 poll. This is consistent with polls in California over the last decade, which, contrary to expectations, shows that there are as many "Conservatives" as "Liberals," or even slightly more, in this state so essential to the success of the left in American politics.
Eight years ago, I wrote in American Thinker about "The Biggest Missing Story in Politics," which was the persistent and significant conservative majority that showed up in the demographic data of Question D3. I noted that this particular poll, the George Washington University Battleground Poll, which was in association with a Democrat-leaning polling organization, Lake Research Partners, and the other, a Republican-leaning polling organization, The Tarrance Group, had a remarkably high degree of objectivity, accuracy, and transparency. There was no reason to doubt the data, and the fact that the same numbers showed up year after year meant there was no reason to believe that the result was a single polling aberration.
Before that article, almost no polling organizations routinely asked Americans about their ideological self-identification, or if the polling organization asked that question, the result was unlikely to be published with the other findings. Today, every polling organization asks and publishes ideological self-identification as a major point.
Each of the hundreds of published state or national polls since 2008 confirms, rather than disproves, the argument in my 2008 article. America has been and remains a profoundly conservative nation. That is why, of course, Reagan, the "ultra-conservative," won two huge landslides. Food for thought going into the 2016 presidential election.