One enduring and famous result of polling is that self-described conservatives outnumber self-described liberals by a fair margin. But how much of this is just about question-wording? According to some new research from CAP’s new Progressive Studies Program quite a bit. As John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira explain:
Two new studies (here and here) conducted by the Progressive Studies Program at the Center for American Progress breaks down the electorate on a new 5-point scale of political ideology that reflects the primary approaches people ascribe to today. Under this schematic, 34 percent of the country self-identifies as ‘conservative’, 29 percent as ‘moderate’, 15 percent as ‘liberal’, 16 percent as ‘progressive’, and 2 percent as ‘libertarian’.
After moderates are asked which approach they lean towards, the overall ideological breakdown of the country divides into fairly neat left and right groupings with 47 percent of Americans identifying as progressive or liberal and 48 percent as conservative or libertarian and the rest unsure.
There’s much more to chew on in the report, and I’ll almost certainly post more on it. But that, in itself, is very interesting.