Gallup: Economic Conservatives Outnumber Economic Liberals 46% to 20%

May 25, 2012 - 12:08 PM

Tim Geithner, Paul Ryan

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - Americans who describe themselves as conservative on economic issues outnumber those who describe themselves as liberal on economic issues by 46 percent to 20 percent, according to a Gallup poll released today.

The same poll says that Americans who describe themselves as conservative on social issues outnumber those who describe themselves as liberal on social issues by 38 percent to 28 percent.

Over the past year, according to Gallup's historic data on the same questions, the percentage who describe themselves as conservative on social issues has marginally increased (climbing from 35 percent to 38 percent) while those who describe themselves as conservative on economic issues has marginally declined (dropping from 47 percent to 46 percent).

Similarly, there was a slight decline over the past year in the percentage who say they are liberal on social issues (from 29 percent to 28 percent), while there was a slight increase in the percentage who say they are liberal on economic issues (from 19 percent to 20 percent). The changes were within the poll's margin of error.

The survey interviewed 1,024 Americans 18 or older from May 3-6, and had a margin of error of +/-5 points. Respondents were asked: “Thinking about social issues, would you say your views on social issues are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal?” and “Thinking about economic issues, would you say your views on economic issues are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal or very liberal?”

To the first question, 9 percent said they were very conservative on social issues, 29 percent said they were conservative, 31 percent said they were moderate, 20 percent said they were liberal, 8 percent said they were very liberal, and 3 percent said they had no opinion.

To the second question, 11 percent said they were very conservative on economic issues, 35 percent said they were conservative, 32 percent said they were moderate, 16 percent said they were liberal, 4 percent said they were very liberal, and 3 percent said they had no opinion.

Gallup has been asking this question since 1999. The percentage of people who said they were conservative on economic issues peaked in 2010, when 51 percent said they were economic conservatives. That included 12 percent who said they were very conservative on economic issues and 39 percent who said they were conservative on economic issues.

The percentage of people who said they were conservative on social issues peaked at 42 percent in 2009. That year, 9 percent said they were very conservative on social issues and 33 percent said they were conservative.

This May 6-8 Gallup poll also showed that when asked generally whether they were conservative, liberal or moderate, without mentioning specific issues, 41 percent said they were conservative, 33 percent said they were moderate, and 23 percent said they were liberals. (Back in January, Gallup released results from surveys conducted throughout 2011 that interviewed more than 20,000 American 18 and older. Those surveys showed that 40 percent described themselves as conservative, 35 percent described themselves as moderate, and 20 percent described themselves as liberals.)