Politics & Government

Good news for liberals, sort of

Good news for liberals: Their numbers were up for the third straight year, and were the highest in 2014 since Gallup began asking about such labels in 1992.

Not such good news: Conservatives still are way ahead. While 24 percent identified themselves as liberal, 38 percent said they were conservative.

More good news for liberals: The 14 percentage point gap was the smallest since 1992.

What’s going on here, said a Gallup analysis, is that “Over the past 22 years, Americans' ideological bent, or at least their willingness to associate with certain labels, has changed in subtle ways.”

The changes in the poll, it said, to a large extent reflecting “opposing ideological shifts within the parties, not national trends. That helps explain how there could be a record proportion of liberals at a time when Democratic identification was at a long-term low.

“Likewise, even though 2014 was a strong election year for the Republican Party, Gallup found no increase in conservatism in 2014 compared with 2013. All of this happened at the same time that political indepenence was peaking which is to say that ideological polarization and the strength of the two major parties don't necessarily go hand in hand. In fact, one may undermine the other.”