People who describe themselves as conservative is on the rise, while liberal is steady to declining. I am not sure what this means. It would be helpful to know what the people think these terms mean. One criticism that could be made is that for all the conservatives n the country, they have not been able to elect a workable majority in DC. It could be that Gallup surveyed all adults 18 & older, instead of voters strictly. So, I am not sure what this portends, if anything, for 2010, except that the country is moving right (whatever that means). Should that group be mobilized, then it could become a powerful electoral force.
Independents and Republicans appear to be moving more conservative, while Democrats are moving more liberal. This is no surprise. What does this mean for West Virginia Democrats?
For those who may doubt the Gallup poll, Pew found similar data:
What’s really exceptional at this stage of Obama’s presidency is the extent to which the public has moved in a conservative direction on a range of issues. These trends have emanated as much from the middle of the electorate as from the highly energized conservative right. Even more notable, however, is the extent to which liberals appear to be dozing as the country has shifted on both economic and social issues.
Pew Research surveys throughout the year have found a downward slope in support both for an activist government generally and for a strong safety net for the needy, in particular. Chalk up these trends to a backlash against Obama policies that have expanded the role of government.
More surprising is declining support for gun control, a fall in support for abortion rights, and a rise in public doubts about global warming. Much of the change on these issues has come from independents, a category now populated by many former self-identified Republicans. But a lack of passion among Democrats — and liberals in particular — is also a part of the story of this conservative trend among the public at large.
Pew has a little more information about what people think about the issues than the Gallup does, and it is an interesting mixed bag.
Update: According to RCP the conservative gains are likely libertarian gains. But these gains should be viewed modestly. The President and Democrat Congress has in some ignited these shifts.
For the first time this decade, more Americans, 50 percent, said providing health care for everyone was not the government’s responsibility according to Gallup. Three years earlier, 69 percent said it was the government’s responsibility to provide universal health care.
Nick Gillespie, editor of the libertarian publication Reason, sees a straight line between the unpopular financial bailouts, started under the Bush administration, and Democrats’ unpopular health care bill today.
“It’s the rule of the few at the expense of the many,” Gillespie said.
Indeed. Today’s limited libertarian revival is a response to a sense of overreaching elite technocrats as well as fear of an intrusive bureaucracy. Responsiveness is the core impulse. Rand’s radical libertarianism, where man is an ends in himself and the welfare state is fundamentally immoral, was a response to the radically invasive Soviet state that weaned her as a girl. On a drastically less extreme scale, one side of this American debate could not exist without the other. The Obama administration brought with it ambitions of a resurgence of FDR and LBJ’s active-state liberalism. And with it, Obama has revived the enduring American challenge to the state.