Gallup: 'Ideological attitudes in the country may be shifting'

McClatchy Washington BureauMay 24, 2013 

Economic conservatism has hit a five-year low, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.

And, the survey suggests, "ideological attitudes in the country may be shifting."

The poll found that social liberalism is up six points since 2001 and is embraced by about half the Democrats and those who lean Democrats.

"It is possible that Americans are returning to a certain sense of normalcy on economic ideology, while social ideology continues to charter new ground," said a poll analysis.

Here's more from Gallup:

"For much of President Obama's first term, economic conservatism appeared to be on the rise and social conservatism saw modest gains as well. In 2009, a record 42 percent of Americans said they were social conservatives, while in 2010, a high of 51 perent said they were economically conservative.

"This trend may have foreshadowed the 2010 midterms, in which Republicans gave congressional Democrats a memorable 'shellacking' by winning a large number of seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

"This new survey shows changes in Americans' ideology: economic conservatism is at a five-year low, while social liberalism has registered its highest support -- though it remains to be seen whether the changes will continue.

"On the one hand, for economic ideology, this may be a return to the 'normal' rate measured in past polls but momentarily disrupted by a number of factors over the last four years, including the economic recession, the Democrats' control of most of the federal government, and the healthcare debate. By comparison, the 41 percent% of Americans now calling themselves economic conservatives nearly mirrors the eight-year average (42 percent) during the Bush administration."

The poll was conducted May 2-7, and 1,535 adults were surveyed. Margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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