A Nation Divided

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There’s good news and bad news in the latest Gallup Poll , released January 7, 2010.
The good news is that Conservatives remain the largest ideological group in America, at 40% of the population, outnumbering both moderates (36%) and liberals (21%). The three-point increase between 2008 and 2009 in the percentage of Americans calling themselves conservative is largely due to an increase in former political independents now identifying themselves as conservatives.
The bad news is that Americans are more ideologically polarized than ever. The percentage of Americans calling themselves either conservative or liberal has increased over the last decade, while the percentage of moderates has declined. Americans calling themselves moderate decreased from 40% in 2000 to 36% in 2009, while, at the same time, the ranks of both liberals and conservatives expanded slightly.
At the same time, the ideological division between America’s two major parties has sharpened. More Republicans see themselves as conservative, while more Democrats label themselves liberal. The Democratic Party is now dominated by the Left, confirming what Conservatives already suspect. Democrats who identify themselves as “liberal” increased from 29% in 2002 to 38% in 2007, and has since remained at about that level. Whereas moderates had constituted the largest bloc of Democrats in 2000, today they are about tied with liberals as twin leaders, and the proportion of conservatives has declined.
What all this means is the following:

  1. Americans are now sharply divided in our beliefs about what is (human nature, present societal conditions, and worldview) and what should be (ideals about the proper role of government).
  2. But the divide between conservative vs. liberal belief systems is irreconcilable. See my post of Sept. 11, 2009, “No Longer One Nation, Under God.”
  3. Since Conservatives are the largest ideological group in America, there is no reason why we can’t win elections. So, the outlook for 2010/2012 should be bright. We can take back America!
  4. What has kept America together, thus far, is agreement of the two ideological camps on how to conduct politics — majority rule, minority rights, rule of law, due process, no vote fraud, resolving our differences via the ballot instead of the bullet, etc. But as Americans become more polarized and as what is at stake gets higher and more serious and the economy worsens, the agreement on tactics is sure to erode. This especially pertains to the Left because they know they are an ideological minority, which means that if they played the political game according to the rules, they have little hope of winning.

For the Gallup Poll article, CLICK HERE.
Political Ideology -- Annual Trends From 1992-2009

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