Last night I did a post on a question that has long perplexed me: If conservatives are a majority, why can’t we win? Polls consistently show that conservatives outnumber liberals by 1 1/2 to 1 or 2 to 1, yet liberals dominate government. Why? The specific context of my post was a Rasmussen survey showing that by nearly two to one, voters prefer Michele Bachmann’s approach to the financial crisis of 2008-09 to that of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
So we ran a poll: Given that so many Americans consider themselves to be conservatives, why don’t we do better politically? Thousands of people voted in the poll, most of them our regular readers, a good cross-section of conservatives. Here are the results; click to enlarge:
The results are quite striking: half of all respondents fingered the news media and academia as more than making up for the predominance of conservatives in our population. The second-place choice, that Republicans who are elected to office tend to be co-opted, is closely allied to the first; presumably that co-optation is due in large part to pressure from the establishment. I, personally, was surprised that more voters in the poll didn’t select answers like, “Liberals are more motivated because they are in it for the money,” which I think is true (as are a number of the other responses).
Are conservatives correct in believing that liberals in the press and academia are so powerful in shaping the public narrative that they can overcome conservatism’s massive advantage in numbers? I suspect they are. Actually, I think the idea of a neutral press is so foreign to our experience (to say nothing of a conservative press!) that we can’t even imagine a world in which such a thing exists.
UPDATE: I should add that last night’s post generated 77 comment threads, with lots of interesting observations that supplement the poll results. Feel free to check them out.