The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 states

Map shaded by the conservative advantage over liberals in each state. (Gallup)

People who identify as conservative outnumber those who call themselves liberal in 47 states, according to a new Gallup survey.

Nationally, conservatives had a 14.6 percentage point lead on liberals, though that was more than a full point smaller than last year’s lead. The gap in 2013 was largest in Wyoming, where 40.5 percentage points separated those who identified as conservatives from those who identified as liberals. Only Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont and D.C. had more liberals than conservatives. The top 10 liberal states voted for Obama during the last two elections, while the top 10 conservative states chose the Republican nominee.

Another Gallup poll this week found that the Democratic party’s advantage in the states had gone down dramatically, though the party can still lay claim to more states than Republicans can. Still, the new findings suggest that most Americans are ideologically at the center to center-right. And the implications for Democrats could be simple: focus on the middle.

“How do Democrats continue to win elections if so few Americans identify themselves as liberal? The answer may lie with moderates, which, as a voting bloc, are solidly Democratic,” the Gallup authors write. “If moderates begin voting with Republicans in the near or long-term future, there may indeed be a Republican revival on the national level.”

The word liberal, once often spoken with scorn, has been enjoying a slight resurgence nationally and a strong one among Democrats in recent years. Last year, 23 percent of Americans surveyed by Gallup identified as liberal, up from 19 and 20 percent in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Among Democrats, 43 percent identify as liberal now, up from 29 percent in 2000.

Conservative identification by state

Moderate identification by state

Liberal identification by state