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U.S. Conservatives Outnumber Liberals by Narrowing Margin


by Lydia Saad


36% of Americans now conservative, 25% liberal
Liberal figure has inched up from 17% in 1990s
Conservatives mainly steady, while moderates decline

PRINCETON, N.J. — Many more Americans have considered themselves politically conservative than liberal since the early 1990s. That remained the case in 2016, when an average of 36% of U.S. adults throughout the year identified themselves as conservative and 25% as liberal. Yet that 11-percentage-point margin is half of what it was at its peak in 1996 and is down from 14 points only two years ago.

One thought on “U.S. Conservatives Outnumber Liberals by Narrowing Margin

  1. Bottom Line

    The ideological bent of U.S. adults changed little in 2015, although Democrats continued to inch to the left. This continues a significant long-term trend, with a slight increase in Americans favoring the liberal label, mostly at the expense of conservatives. While conservatives still outnumber liberals by a healthy margin in the U.S. population, the gap is narrower than at any point in Gallup’s 23-year trend. It is also possible that after several years of heightened conservatism among Republicans and independents, this is moderating somewhat, but it is too early to say for sure.

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