Number of Americans Who Identify as ‘Liberal’ Drops

Morning Consult poll shows rise in number of moderates, slight increase in conservatism.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The share of the U.S. electorate who identify as “very liberal,” “liberal,” or “somewhat liberal” on a seven-point scale has dropped from 34% to 27% over the past five years, according to a Morning Consult survey.
  • Even though those abandoning liberal ideology have not necessarily turned to conservatism, the data show that Democratic voters have “drifted toward the middle and Republican voters shifted further to the right,” the survey company reported. The increase in the percentage of Americans who identify as moderate, or who are uncertain about their ideology, signifies a “growing and electorally decisive center that is discontented with either side’s extremes.”
  • Between 2017 and 2022, White, Blacks, and Hispanic voters became more conservative by 2%, 7%, and 5% respectively, according to the survey. American Indian/Asian/other voters became less conservative by 1%, but only after becoming less liberal by 11% and more moderate by 7%.
  • In the same period, the share of Americans identifying as “very conservative,” “conservative,” and “slightly conservative” increased from 38% to 39%.
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LEAVING LIBERALISM THE FASTEST:
  • The share of young people aged 18-34 who identify as liberal has dropped more than the other age group, says Morning Consult.
  • In 2017, the number of young people identifying as liberal was 47%, dropping to 34% by 2022.
  • In the same timeframe, the number of young people who say they “don’t know” where they fall on the political spectrum increased by 8% (from 5% to 13%) while the number who call themselves “moderate” increased by 5% (from 22% to 27%).
BACKGROUND:
  • The data came from an annual Morning Consult survey research conducted among more than 8.6 million U.S. voters since 2017.
  • Just after the U.S. midterm elections, about half of voters said 40-year-high inflation raising prices for groceries, gasoline, housing, and food had factored significantly in their vote, according to a survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. About 8 in 10 said the economy was an overarching concern.