There's little that's more inane to me than polls that ask whether a person is conservative or liberal. (Aside from polls that ask people if they're pro-choice or pro-life.) Basically, these aren't systems of belief for most people--they're marketing categories that encompass many different political identities for people that ultimately aren't particularly ideological, for the most part.
I think this chart, from Kevin Drum, shows this. Over the past few decades, America has gone through some really radical changes, but from these charts you'd never realize it because since 1980 or so the liberal/moderate/conservative counts have remained steady. The moral of the story: people don't really care about ideology. They want their problems addressed. And I suspect if you looked at the 30 years prior to this you'll see a similar graph--I remember reading a book about FDR and it said that in 1936, right before Roosevelt won 48 states, 55% of the country considered themselves conservative. Yep, they said that before electing the most liberal president ever in an historic landslide.
So, basically, all this is irrelevant. The question is, as it has always been: where do people stand on the issues?
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.