A new Gallup poll is trying to determine the social and economic state of our country. Six years into President Obama’s term, one would expect the country would have a certain kind of liberal fatigue. After all, this is usually the case—the country generally becomes tired of the current administration and warms up to the opposite party. However, Gallup has determined the country is more liberal today on social issues and is continuing that trend when it comes to economic issues.
Gallup measured the gap by taking conservative values minus liberal values. The result showed the difference between the two ideologies through a percentage. While conservatives have a 21-percentage point advantage on economic issues, the difference between the two parties is at the lowest level since 2001. The largest gap was in 2010, when the Tea Party surged into the political spectrum. At that time, conservatives had a 36-percentage point advantage.
The bad news for Republicans is on social issues. In 2009 and 2010, conservatives held a 17-percentage point advantage on issues like marriage equality, gender and racial discrimination, and marijuana. Today, the conservative advantage on social issues has fallen to just 4-percentage points.
[box type=”shadow”]In another sense, this is pretty unusual. Normally, the country gets steadily more liberal during Republican presidencies and steadily more conservative during Democratic presidencies. This is, presumably, because voters get increasingly tired of whoever’s in power and more open to the idea that the other guys might have better answers. But this time that hasn’t happened. There’s too much noise in the Gallup chart to draw any definitive conclusions, but if you compare the numbers now to the average from the last few years of the Bush presidency, the country has actually gotten a bit more liberal. That’s something that rarely happens six years into a Democratic presidency.
It’s a funny thing. People say they don’t like President Obama’s foreign policy, but it turns out they approve of the specific things he’s doing. They say they don’t like Obamacare, but they like the things Obamacare does. They say they don’t like Obama’s economic policy, but they largely approve of his actual positions. You see this over and over. It doesn’t look like Obama is doing much to move the country in a more liberal direction, but in his slow, methodical, pragmatic way, he’s doing just that. A lot of people might not know it, but they’re attracted by his no-drama approach to incremental social change. It frustrates those of us who want to see things change faster, but in the end, it might turn out to be pretty effective.[/box]
With Republicans running further to the right on social and economic issues, they are losing their grasp on the public. There will always be a group of people who will vote Republican no matter what. However, for independents across the country, they are identifying less and less with the Republican Party. If Republicans want a chance to win another election in their lifetime, they must change their stance on social issues.
H/T: Mother Jones