Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Identify Themselves As Liberals


In the 1988 presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush, was able to cruise to victory over Massachusetts Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis, largely by labeling Dukakis as a liberal. The “L” word had become a dirty word. From Nixon’s drubbing of George McGovern, through Ronald Reagan’s two landslide wins, any national candidate who wore the liberal label was all but assured a humiliating defeat. The “L” word was such an obvious political kiss of death, that the Democrats found their way out of the political wilderness, by running a pair of White Southern centrists (Clinton and Gore) in 1992. The Southern ticket was a way to insulate the party from being tarred as too liberal, yet again.

According to Gallup, which has been tracking self-identified political ideology since 1992, liberalism was appealing to less than one-fifth of Americans during the 1990s. The liberal label reached rock bottom in 1995, with just 16 percent of Americans polled, choosing to describe themselves as liberal.

Friday’s 2015 Gallup survey, however, finds that liberalism is resurgent. A record 24 percent of Americans now describe themselves as liberal. While more Americans (38 percent) still call themselves conservative, the gap between liberals and conservatives is the smallest it has been, in the 23 years Gallup has polled political ideology.

The 2014 election seems paradoxical. Liberalism is on the rise, yet Republicans had a banner year at the ballot box. The collapse of the political moderate, combined with low voter turnout on the left, enabled the GOP to score sweeping House and Senate victories. However, if the Democrats run on a strong, progressive populist message in 2016, they can expect to win the allegiance of the growing legions of liberal voters.

Self-identified liberals now constitute 44 percent of Democratic voters. That number is way up from the 29 percent who called themselves liberals in 2000. A Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, who tries to run too close to the center, risks alienating nearly half the party.

Liberalism has increased in popularity, while the Democratic Party’s popularity has declined.  This should be a wake up call to Democratic candidates that complacency and status quo politics are a recipe for continued failure. If the Democrats want to win in 2016, the American people are telling them how. Move forward and turn left with bold ideas. Stand up for America’s working class. Stand and deliver on liberal principles. Gallup’s latest survey says Americans are becoming increasingly liberal. The Democratic Party had better be ready to position itself where liberals have reason to turn out and vote for them.

45 Replies to “Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Identify Themselves As Liberals”

  1. Then where the HELL were they last November?? Ideology without committed actions is just arid pomposity.

  2. Where were they in 2010 and 2014?

    I don’t believe a word of it and I am not holding my breath.

    I have lived in three Conservative state, including Kansas, and Conservatives poison everything.

  3. Hello, well, you can see my name and according to a questionnaire put out by NBC several years ago, I am not only a liberal, I am a “bleeding heart liberal”. How ’bout that. Maybe they didn’t have the word “progressive” back then. But I am and proud of it.

  4. Fox News, for one. Rush Limbaugh, for two. Koch money, for three. Toxic religion, for four. Anti-intellectualism, for five. Could go on. Won’t.

  5. The problem is that the Democratic Party message is not conducive to getting liberals to vote. A large majority of voters seem to not grasping the concept that there is a difference between the two parties. They also miss the very vital point that voting for any Democratic Party member is a win/win situation for them and the Democratic Party. Not just a pure liberal Democrat. See there are some states that a liberal Democrat will never get voted in. Where as a Blue Dog Democrat that votes with the party on average 80% or better can.
    Get the drift folks a TP/GOP will never vote or hardly ever vote with the Democrats. Thus be thankful for one that will most of the time.
    There in is the problem some do not understand how politics really works and how to vote.

  6. Seriously? Remember, conservatives hold dear 1 policy, and one policy only: preserve and compound corporate wealth and power. Nothing else matters. They don’t care how they do it, or who suffers. Environmental concerns? Bulldoze everything and drill, baby drill. Sovereign foreign nations unwilling to hand over their resources? Label them extremists, stage a coup or start a war to get them out of the way. Hide behind a blood stained veil of Christianity, torture at will, spy unrepentantly, destroy unions, defund education, kill healthcare, privatize everything, pay slave wages and tell your employees how to get on the dole. You get it now? Corporate power and wealth holds primacy over everything. It’s irrefutable, and has been proven over many years.

  7. Personally, if in fact, there is a large percentage of Americans who can’t name the Vice President as has been reported, I seriously doubt they know the difference between liberal and conservative.

    Not to mention I don’t trust Gallup as far as I can throw it.

  8. Of course…
    favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
    (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
    of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism, especially the freedom of the individual and governmental guarantees of individual rights and liberties.
    favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
    favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression:
    a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
    of or relating to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
    free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant:
    a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

  9. Raymond the 2014 elections was not that the Democrats did not show they were denied .In florida they had long lines and they refused keep the polling places opened.In georgia they refused to turn in the voter registration forms.In texas they changed the rules.In North Carolina they gave the voters the wrong locations.This is and should be the top job for the Democrats to work on now before the next election.If not the same results will happen.

  10. America has an ultra-conservative segment that basically is an uneducated, unimaginable, unenlightened lot of village idiots who will never change – their just a drag on society !!!

  11. Pssdov, I agree and disagree. You left out one thing.
    Many Conservatives I’ve met are one issue voters, anything liberal frightens the hell out of them because…guns.
    The Republican Party and the TP sell that like candy to kindergartners and it doesn’t make a bit of difference if they live in a shack with no electricity, running water or heat as long as they can have their guns.
    Both my wife and I have concealed carry permits. I’m not nearly as worried about being robbed or mugged,as I am of these extremist misfits.
    I find it hilarious that about 5 Months ago the New Black Panthers, decided they to were Americans to and as law abiding citizens they could own guns. Now the Republican/TP, NRA are having a melt down.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like open carry and don’t support it and the Black Panthers are no better than the Oath Keepers, but you have to admit it’s funny as hell when their own sh*t sticks to them and there’s nowhere to wipe it off.

  12. I don’t believe America is any more liberal then it was ten or twenty years ago, but I believe liberal is becoming less of a loaded political word.

    In other words liberals are not afraid to admit who they are.

  13. the “both sides” that is peddled relentlessly on cable news by the media is the real problem. Until the media starts calling out the right on their insanity nothing will change. And, yes, I am a liberal. In Mississippi.

  14. Well ANNE this bleeding heart liberal is at the voting booth when ever there is an election. Think I have missed one in my lifetime and I am 81 going on 82.

    During the Reagun years, to say you were a bleeding heart liberal was next to dangerous. I, at times said it, just to watch the faces of the rethugs and even some Dems. The reaction on the faces was priceless! Was told by some if I voted Dem, I was going to hell…I wonder if, people even know the difference between Liberal or CONSERVATIVE.
    Look it up, see the difference, If Jesus Christ was anything he was a liberal…..and killed for it.

  15. “Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.

    “What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things…every one!

    “So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”

    — Matt Santos, “The West Wing”

    (… God, I miss that show)

  16. I also really miss “West Wing” but now “State of Affairs” is pretty good with a woman CIA agent working with
    a black woman US president. <— this alone is very liberal and sends the bigots into a tizzy.

    I'm a true blue California liberal who's been voting since 1980.

  17. Don’t forget about racism, theocracy, abortion and gays. These people are haters – they are SO consumed by their hatred for these things that they can’t think rationally about anything. Especially given that rational thinking was never a strong point with people whose minds are basically closed anyway.

  18. I’ll add “latte-drinking”, “Prius-driving” to bleeding heart Liberal and proud of it. I care about people.

  19. I think that the Democratic candidates need to start talking about what specifically they want to do and how they will pay for it. Explain to people what building infrastructure does for them, jobs, the economy. Use examples they understand.

  20. I’m a Volvo S40 driver, my next car will be a Ford Fusion, Preius, Leaf or that new electric BMW.
    A friend recently bought a Volt and he loves it and is an engineer.

    Ok, my eyes are blue, live in a blue city, in a blue state, congressman is blue as well as my 2 senators, state assemblyman is blue and state senator is blue.

  21. just read some of breitbart and I’ve reade why they’re SO misinformed.

    I found one on California…it’s TOO funny!
    I’m very happy to be able to shoot a canon and maybe hit a few repubs in California.
    They’re whining about how strict and unfair about our PUBLIC ACCESS coastline and how difficult it is to get permits to build home with PRIVATE beaches (because we want everyone to have access to the coastline)…not too selfish are they?
    Another was complaining about the cost to fix the Hurst Castle pool…,it’s a state hisorical landmark people, just like the Nixon and Reagan homes are.

  22. You mean the midterms where only 32% of the eligible voters voted? 32%!!! 19% voted Republican and 13% vote Democrat! You didn’t win-America lost! But then Democrats have a history of NOT voting midterms. We vote in the Presidential elections. Look at 2008 & 2012. Obama walked away with both elections. And Dems will walk away with the 2016 Presidential election!

  23. Hi, my name is Pam and I am a proud liberal. I have been all my life and I admit it proudly and openly.

  24. HOW?????

    Because they believe BILLS like this one out by the right called “SAVING AMERICAN WORKERS ACT”

    The entire purpose of the bill is to disqualify OVER a million workers from employer provide insurance and cause the ACAs cost to increase by 60 billion dollars.

    FOr the first time in recorded history the cost of medical care has slightly reversed its upward trend and the REPUBLICANS want to stop it.

    Their actions are blatant yet their brain damaged voters continue to support them. They poison this country with lies and misinformation.

  25. I live in Red Missouri and I am a pro- gun liberal.I despise the 12 Democrats in the senate who vote with Republicans.DINO’s..Democrat in name only.Corporate puppets.Claire McCaskill is an example.

  26. Pro-gun liberals are possible. I own one. I just don’t swagger up and down grocery aisles with it.

  27. Patricia, not only I am a liberal, bleeding-heart liberal, and progressive, but a plain socialist. My socialism is due to my Christianity. When I read things like Matthew 6:19-24, Matt 19:16-26, Matt 22:15-22, Matt 25:31-36, and Luke 16:19-31, I doubt if you can be a serious Christian without being a committed socialist; Jesus goes on and on about the evil of loving money, but never says anything about gays (or whatever is the current conservative topic of the day). I’ve voted ever since 1972, ever two years. Between 1972 and 1982, I voted about 90% Democratic; and since 1984 to 2014, I’ve voted absolutely 100% Democratic. It just makes sense, not like that “voodoo economics” that the GOP keeps on trying to trick us into believing.

  28. You are correct. Capitalism is incompatible with morality or a spirital life. Capitalism is about greed. Modern republicans don’t think. Their prophets Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman taught that the rich owe nothing to the society that made them rich and that the poor should be treated like rabid animals. Reagan is directly responsible for corrupting the GOP turning it into a parareligious cult obsessed with the golden bull of Wall Street.

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