I have been writing for a long time about the real news in the Battleground Poll results over the last decade. These bipartisan polls which predict election results with remarkable accuracy and which also reveal the answers to all the questions respondents provided including, critically, how people describe themselves ideologically. In the last twenty consecutive Battleground Poll reports over the last ten years, the overwhelming majority of Americans have described themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative,” although the poll provides six other possible responses: “moderate,” “somewhat liberal,” “very liberal” or “don’t know / unsure.” On average, about 60% of Americans in the Battleground Poll call themselves conservative.
I have also noted that in the Gallup Poll, one of the oldest and most respected (although hardly a friend to conservatives) when respondents are asked to define themselves ideologically in each of the fifty states, that conservatives overwhelmingly outnumber liberals. In August 2009, Gallup released the first of these polls, conducted in July 2009. The results were stunning: in every one of the fifty states, more people called themselves “conservative” than “liberal” – even in Vermont, even in Massachusetts, even in Hawaii.
It looks as though Gallup, although honestly presenting the data, wanted to downplay the significance. The title of that Gallup release was “Political Ideology: Conservative Label Prevails in South” and then in a flatly erroneous subtitle “Conservatives outnumber liberals in nearly every state, but not in D.C.” The District of Columbia, of course, is not a state. Conservatives, according to that poll, did outnumber liberals in every state.
A few months later, in February 2010, Gallup announced “Ideology: Three Deep South States Are Most Conservative.” The results, as six months earlier, showed that every single state had more conservatives than liberals. This time, interestingly, Gallup did not round the percentages off but gave data to the tenth of one percent (e.g. Vermont had 28.8% conservatives and 28.0% liberals.) In August 2010, Gallup gave the same state by state breakdown, and only in Rhode Island were there more liberals than conservatives.
One year ago, in February 2011, Gallup presented the state by state ideological breakdown, again showing the data down to tenths of one percent. What were the results? In every single state of the union, there were more conservatives than liberals. How did Gallup entitle this release? “Mississippi Rates as Most Conservative State” which a subtitle “ Vermont, Rhode Island, District of Columbia have highest percentage of liberals.”
A few days ago, Gallup released its fifth poll asking respondents in each state to identify themselves ideologically. The results were consistent with the four earlier polls. In every state except for Massachusetts, conservatives outnumbered liberals. The title to the article, again, seems calculated to downplay the significance of the findings: “ Mississippi Most Conservative State, D.C. Most Liberal” (except, again, D.C. is not a “State.”) Now in five consecutive Gallup Polls and twenty consecutive Battleground Polls conservatives have a breathtaking advantage over liberals.
There is no reason to believe that either polling organization was trying to reveal the enormous size of conservative America. Survey USA compiles state polling from television and sometimes conducts the polls itself. As with Battleground and Gallup, there is no incentive to make conservatives look good. Yet when the “ideology” question is asked, conservatives outnumber liberals even in states in which conventional political wisdom says that this should not be.
In Washington State, for example, Survey USA shows that conservatives outnumber liberals by ten percentage points. Survey USA shows that in California, there are more conservatives than liberals. Its polls show the conservative edge over liberals in Minnesota is fourteen percentage points. The Survey USA poll in Michigan breaks down ideological identification into “very conservative,” “conservative,” “moderate,” “liberal” and “very liberal.” Nothing changed: there were 50% more “very conservatives” than “very liberals” and 60% more conservatives than liberals. In New York State there were eleven percentage points more conservatives than liberals.
What is perhaps more curious are those polls which mention how conservatives and liberals feel about issues or candidates, but which completely omit the strength of each ideological group in the poll. This ABC poll from last year, which reveals how “conservatives” and “liberals” feel about gays in the military neglects to ever discuss what percentage of respondents were conservative and what percentage were liberal.
The data is consistent, overwhelming and clear. Conservatives are the Real America. Leftists are colonial governors, small in number, controlling through fear and intimidation from heavily guarded forts at the chokepoints of society, unable to persuade more than a slim minority of Americans to follow them, and protected from the destruction of their own administration. Our campaign against the Left is nothing more or less than a national liberation movement. We, not they, are America .