According to Gallup…
PRINCETON, NJ — Despite the results of the 2008 presidential election, Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative rather than more liberal, 39% to 18%, with 42% saying they have not changed. While independents and Democrats most often say their views haven’t changed, more members of all three major partisan groups indicate that their views have shifted to the right rather than to the left.
These findings, from a June 14-17 Gallup Poll, somewhat conform to Gallup’s annual trends on Americans’ self-defined political ideology. Thus far in 2009 (from January through May), 40% of Americans call themselves conservative, up from 37% in 2007 and 2008, and the highest level since 2004.
However, the results are conspicuously incongruous with the results of the 2008 elections, in which the Democratic Party won the White House for the first time in eight years, and increased its majority control in the U.S. House and Senate. Rather than suggesting an upturn in conservatism, the elections, the tattered image of the GOP, depressed identification with the Republican Party, and President Obama’s broad popularity have many in and outside of the Republican Party wondering whether the country has outgrown the GOP’s largely conservative platform.
Conservatives currently outnumber liberals in the population, and thus, conservatism has a natural advantage on any question asking the public to choose between these standard ideological labels. So that’s part of the explanation for the incongruity.