Politics is like fashion; the most popular styles change. And just like rising and falling hemlines, so goes the most stylish political identities. A new poll suggests conservatism is on the way out and liberalism is making a comeback.
A Gallup survey published on Jan 10, 2014, showed that Americans who consider themselves liberal reached a record high in 2013.
“Americans' perceptions of their political views -- if not the views themselves -- are undergoing unmistakable change, contributing to greater political polarization in the country. Now, the plurality of Democrats consider themselves to be politically liberal, whereas a decade ago, Democrats were most likely to say they were moderate…
Meanwhile, Republicans, who have always been overwhelmingly conservative, have become increasingly so.
These data confirm the tendency for Americans who identify with the two major parties to be more ideologically homogeneous than was the case in the past, a tendency that appears to be matched by the increasing polarization between Democratic and Republican members of Congress.”
The significance of the poll may be a larger statement on dissatisfaction with income inequality and the ultra-conservative polices that have dominated the political landscape of late, particularly in Republican-controlled states.
Since the tea party sweep in the 2010 elections, the Republican brand has suffered from declining association with fairness toward the middle and working classes. And according to the GOP Growth & Opportunity Project, more commonly known as the post-2012 Republican Party autopsy, their image has been tarnished by widespread belief among the electorate that the GOP caters to the economic and social interests of wealthy white males, at the expense of all others.
Conservatism also represents austerity for all but the wealthiest, and after years of struggling to make ends meet, perhaps more Americans feel that they have run out of time waiting for trickle-down policies to reach their wallets.