Poll: Older Democrats fueling party’s shift left on social issues

The number of social conservatives and liberals is about even, according to a new Gallup poll. The findings are a departure from years dominated by social conservatives over issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

July 28 (UPI) — The number of Americans who identify as liberals on social issues nearly equaled those who identify as conservatives — with older Democrats now more likely to call themselves liberal, a new Gallup survey showed Friday.

Gallup’s annual survey studying the attitudes of Americans on social and religious issues showed a country evenly divided between liberals and conservatives, after an era dominated by right-leaning attitudes.

Thirty-four percent labeled themselves as social conservatives in the poll, while 30 percent said they were socially liberal.

That figure is down from 2009 and 2010, when social conservatives dominated the poll with 42 percent, compared to 25 percent who said they were liberal.

The single largest growth among social liberals has come from registered Democrats.

In 2001, 31 percent of Democrats described themselves as socially liberal, a figure that has steadily climbed to 53 percent, where it has remained since 2015. The figures mirror the party’s gradual leftward shift over the last two decades on issues like same-sex marriage.

While younger Democrats have historically identified as social liberals, the party’s overall shift has been driven by its older members. Democrats 55 and older are now about as likely to identify as social liberals as those 35 to 55, Gallup said. Democrats ages 18 to 35 are still twice as likely as older members of their party to identify as social liberals.

Gallup’s survey polled 1,011 people from May 3-7. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.


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