Polls Show Surge In Americans Embracing Social Conservatism
By Jonathon Van Maren/Bridgehead.caJuly 25, 2023
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While there have been plenty of positive developments in the culture wars -- especially a wave of legislation across the United States banning "sex changes" for children and restricting abortion -- I'm always wary of claims that we are "winning" in any way.
The culture itself has certainly been lost, and when I read a recent list of "wins" -- against the transgender industry, Drag Queen Story Hour, etc. -- I couldn't help but notice that every single one of these victories were regarding issues that weren't even on our radar a decade ago.
The victories that the social conservative movement achieves are actually an indication of just how bad things have gotten and how far the goalposts have been moved as a result.
That said, there have been some interesting trend lines lately -- trend lines that have gotten LGBT activists groups very, very worried.
For example, Gallup recently released a set of polls indicating that in 2023, 38% of Americans reported that they are "very conservative" or "conservative" on social issues specifically, which is up from 33% in 2022 and 30% in 2021, an eight-point jump in only two years.
This corresponds to a decline in those identifying as either "very liberal" or "liberal" on social issues, which has dipped to 29% from 34% in each of the past two years, with 31% identifying as moderate.
What is interesting, Gallup's report noted, is that "the last time this many Americans said they were socially conservative was 2012, during a period when consistently more U.S. adults identified as conservative rather than liberal on social issues."
Gallup noted that the "survey comes at a time when many states are considering policies regarding transgender matters, abortion, crime, drug use and the teaching of gender and sexuality in schools." This is unlikely to be a coincidence -- as progressive activists show their hand, their sheer radicalism on many of these issues puts them at odds with most ordinary Americans.
That is why, as Gallup reported, the "increase in conservative identification on social issues over the past two years is seen among nearly all political and demographic subgroups. Republicans show one of the largest increases, from 60% in 2021 to 74% today. Independents show a modest uptick of five percentage points, from 24% to 29%, while there has been no change among Democrats (10% in both 2021 and 2023)."
Since 2021, the report stated, there has been "double-digit increases in conservative social ideology among middle-aged adults -- those between the ages of 30 and 64. At the same time, older Americans' ideology on social issues has been stable, while there has been a modest increase in conservative social ideology among young adults."
There is a certain sort of right-winger -- most of you will know precisely the type I'm talking about -- who thinks that the public desperately wants candidates who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. In other words, they want progressives who are good at math or at least have better accountants.
The reality is quite the opposite. Most voters actually want some form of social conservatism -- especially on some of the most contentious issues -- and strong social safety nets. Large factions of the Democratic coalition, such as African Americans and Hispanics, hold social views that put them profoundly offside from the agenda being pushed by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the entire elite of the Democratic Party.
These polls are encouraging because they highlight the fact that progressives are not only pushing too far -- but an increasing number of Americans are reacting to that fact by identifying not with progressives but becoming more socially conservative.
They see what's going on and they don't like it. That, at least, is a start.