The Gallup Poll finds that conservatism, more than ever, is America’s leading ideology. Actually, Gallup’s headline–Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group–understates the case. Conservatives aren’t “maintaining,” they’re surging, as this Gallup graphic reveals:
Conservatives are growing at the expense of both moderates and liberals. I suppose that’s why the folks at CNN have so desperately tried to denigrate the tea party movement and town hall protesters.
This is, of course, the asymmetry of American politics: there are more conservatives than liberals, but more Democrats than Republicans. Hence the constant anxiety among Democrats that their party could crash and burn; hence, too, the frustration by conservatives that so many Republicans can’t bring themselves to embrace conservative ideals.
Battle lines are currently drawn in New York, where a three-way race for an open seat in District 23 is in progress. Local Republicans nominated a liberal, Dede Scozzafava, to run against liberal Democrat Bill Owens in this historically Republican district. On its face this makes little sense: shouldn’t a Republican-leaning district have ONE conservative on the ballot? Doug Hoffman obliged. Running on the Conservative Party line with support from the Club for Growth and other conservative organizations, Hoffman has quickly gone from spoiler to front-runner.
In the most recent Basswood Research poll for the Club for Growth, Hoffman has sprinted to a 31.3%-27% lead over Democrat Bill Owens. The liberal Republican, meanwhile, is sinking like a stone at 19.7%
It appears that Hoffman has overcome the traditional stigma of the third-party candidate–he can’t win–and is positioning himself nicely for next November. The race has generated a lot of endorsements. Most famously, Newt Gingrich has come out for Ms. Scozzafava, to the consternation of many. As always, Newt defends himself ably, pointing out that there are SOME issues where Dede is not a liberal, and defending the right of local Republicans to choose their own candidate. Fair enough, but Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty has burnished his credentials with the party’s base by supporting Hoffman:
In a statement endorsing Conservatives’ Doug Hoffman over GOP Assemblywoman DeDe Scozzafava, Pawlenty said, “We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail, but then vote like Democrats in Congress.”
That sentiment will serve Pawlenty well as he tries to enlist conservatives in his 2012 Presidential campaign.