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August 01, 2011

The 41% Extremist Fringe: Conservative Self-Identification At 20-Year High,Remains Higher Than Identification as "Moderate" or "Liberal"

Gallup, via Hot Air.

I'm never sure what to make of this, since the fraction of "conservatives" (41%) exceeds the fraction of Republicans (around 32%), and the fraction of Democrats (around 38%) greatly exceeds the fraction of "liberals" (21%).

So it seems to me that some self-identified conservatives are not all that conservative, and that many liberals refuse to categorize them as such and call themselves "moderates," even while voting for Nancy Pelosi, Jim McDermott, Harry Reid and so on.

Gallup offers five responses: Very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal.

I'd like to see the question with five different responses: Conservative, Moderate but more conservative than liberal, moderate, moderate but more liberal than conservative, and liberal.

To me the more intriguing question is what those calling themselves "moderate" really think.

Everything in elections is about the leaners and weakly-attached voters. It matters less which fraction of conservatives are "very" conservative and which fraction are merely conservative. What matters a great deal is how those voters in the middle are leaning.

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posted by Ace at 03:40 PM

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