Liberals On The Comeback, Republicans In Hiding

New Gallup polling indicates that being called a “Liberal” has never been more fashionable.

Ideological Self-Identification, Annual Averages, 1992-2013

While there appears to be a downward trend among those identifying as “Conservative,” or, “the largest ideological group in the country,” the Tea Party– home of conservatism– has never been viewed less favorably among Americans.

And just because conservatives stake claim to the meaningless title of “the largest ideological group in the country,” it’s worth pointing out that the great majority of Americans do not identify as “Conservative.”

Which leads us to Republicans, home of the unpopular Tea Party, currently experiencing an exodus of those identifying as Republican, but where are these former Republicans going?

Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2013

Notice that while those identifying as Republican continue to dip to all-time lows, those identifying as “Independent” rise to all-time highs.

“Independent” seems to be the new “Republican.”

It’s kind of interesting that as more liberals seem to be coming out of the ideological closet, Tea Party conservatives are being viewed less favorably, and Republicans now find their party brand scrambling for relevance and an identity that doesn’t turn people away in droves.

Being a “Liberal” used to be some sort of dirty word as ideological markers go. Not so much these days. Conservatives and Republicans, on the other hand, are in the process of either hunkering down at the expense of their ever-dwindling popularity, or disappearing into the political witness protection program of “Independent” identity.

Because bullies tend to run like cowards: Run, you curs, run!

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  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Run, you curs, run!

    From your lips to the Sky Fairy’s ears, may they please, please, PLEASE, run to another country entirely. Maybe North Korea would suit their authoritarian hearts.

    Nice job, Brink…..thanks for this.

  • trgahan

    Unfortunately, these newly minted “independents” still largely support the hard right Republican political platform (ie. It’s all brown peoples and traitorous white intellectuals fault). It has just gotten too embarrassing to say in public you support things like taking food from 1,000s of children so rich people don’t have to pay an extra $2.50 in taxes each year.

    Adding: Don’t forget that smarmy upper-middle class white guy(s) in every office that rubbed the 2000 and 2004 election results in every progressive’s face; responded to everything post-9/11 with “Why do you hate America?;” and ballyhooed the Iraq invasion (until summer of 2005). Then as 2007 rolled into 2008 when gas prices were $4 per gallon, the bubble was popping, and W’s approval rating was at 30 percent, they suddenly became a faux-Libertarians. Now it’s all “BOTH SIDES!” to everything.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Yep. Exactly why I responded as I did.

  • FlipYrWhig

    That number for self-described liberals really puts into context what a small number in absolute terms the group of “liberals who think Obama isn’t liberal enough” actually is. Isn’t liberal satisfaction with Obama fairly consistently something around 80%? That would mean that 20% of this 23% are the malcontents. And yet think about how that 4.6% of the public utterly dominates the liberal blogosphere.

  • muselet

    I agree with you on the whole Republicans-becoming-Independents thing. It’s cowardice, an unwillingness to stand up for what these folks believe. Kudos for “Run, you curs, run!”

    Now I’m going to maunder about another aspect of Gallup’s article (what a surprise).

    This—

    The rise in liberal identification has been accompanied by a decline in moderate identification. At 34% in 2013, it is the lowest Gallup has measured, and down nine points since 1992. Moderates had been the largest ideological group throughout the 1990s, and competed with conservatives for the top spot during the 2000s. Since 2009, conservatives have consistently been the largest U.S. ideological group.

    —is a puzzlement. Even if the Right’s slow-motion purity purge of the GOP has driven off and alienated the middle, there’s no obvious reason for the middle to begin identifying as Left. Or is that even what’s happening? It doesn’t seem likely to me, although I’ve been wrong before.

    Beyond that, if I tell a pollster my ideological self-identification is “moderate,” what does that even mean? Hell, Ted Nugent has called himself a moderate—in the midst of a profanity-laden diatribe, true, but he done went and said it. Is this sort of self-identification even meaningful any more? Was it ever?

    To my poor old mind, the Gallup article raises far more questions than it answers.

    –alopecia

    • mrbrink

      Party identification and ideological composition are two different things. What the polling shows is that while those identifying as “Conservatives” and “Moderates” have been declining, however slightly, the only ideological identity group of the three currently trending higher has been those identifying as “Liberal.”

      It appears “Liberal” is beginning to pick up some “Moderates.”

      But I find it hilarious that since 2010, those identifying as Democrats haven’t really changed, whereas we see dramatic shifts in those running from “Republican” to “Independent” like someone yelled fire in a crowded outhouse.

      This could be what is making Frank Luntz very sad.

      • muselet

        I’m less interested in party identification, although the trend lines are amusing. And I look at Gallup’s data and conclude that “conservative” self-identification has been stable at 40 ± 2% since 1988, but that’s me.

        It appears “Liberal” is beginning to pick up some “Moderates.”

        That right there, that’s what’s so puzzling to me. Just because the GOP has gone stark staring mad and has redefined “conservative” in unpleasant ways, why would self-identified moderates start calling themselves liberal? I find it hard to believe there are significant numbers of people who look at modern conservatism and say to themselves, “Dear lord, those people are loons! I guess I’m not moderate, I’m liberal.”

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy more people are calling themselves liberal. I want to understand why, and Gallup doesn’t raise that question. It’s frustrating.

        And Frank Luntz has all the self-awareness of a small lump of something green and nasty. I hope he disappears into a Las Vegas casino and is never heard from again (I hear tell that video poker is a fascinating game, Frank, give it a try).

        –alopecia

  • LTanya Spearman

    BREAKING: White House statement confirmed World Powers have reach agreement implement Iran JPA nuclear accord Jan. 20, 2014.. –> http://pic.twitter.com/2tjes4e688

    Thank you, Pres. Obama, SOS J. Kerry 5 World Powers, for taking the hard route of diplomacy for peace, instead of WAR..

    Their More!

    Within six months of talks with Israel & Palestine, Amer. SOS John Kerry, maybe able to present, within weeks a “framework Agreement,”after which final details must be hammer out .–> http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-a

    IMO, if these are the results that Pres. Obama and SOS John Kerry are producing versus the 16 Dems. in the senate pushing for new sanction, need to take a back seat and STFU.. As for, B. Gates and his book, I voted for Pres. Barack H. Obama to do exactly what he’s doing (TO END WARS, MAKE PEACE WHERE IT’S POSSIBLE, WHILE KEEPING AMERICA SECURE).. And if by praising Hillary Clinton hawkishness for war, — Clinton need to state clear her stance conserving foreign policy..

    Love to get your feed back..