If you follow polling data, you know that year in and year out, self-described conservatives outnumber self-described liberals in the general population by 1 1/2 to 2 to 1. Yesterday’s Rasmussen Reports adds another useful way to look at the data as they relate to likely voters as opposed to all adults.
We generally think of those who are conservatives on both fiscal and social issues as “solid conservatives,” while those who are liberal on both fiscal and social issues are “far gone liberals.” Rasmussen found that 29% of likely voters are conservative on both sets of issues, while only 10% are liberal on both. Those numbers, especially given that they apply to likely voters, would seem to have great political significance.
First, they suggest that there is little reason for Republican politicians to fear either the fiscal issues or the social issues; consistent conservatism passes muster not just with Republican primary voters, but with voters as a whole. Second, they raise, once again, the question why conservatives can’t get better results politically, since we represent a clear plurality of American voters. The answer to that question is complex, but as we enter another showdown with the left, conservatives should take comfort from the fact that far more Americans are with us than with the other side. Conservatives need to improve our strategy, our tactics and our messaging, and we need to be more loyal to politicians who are solid if not perfectly pure supporters. But we start from a strong position with those who count most, the voters.