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Conservatives outnumber liberals 2 to 1, Gallup finds

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Conservatives continue to outnumber liberals by a wide margin, with moderates nearly as numerous as conservatives, according to data from 16 separate Gallup surveys.

Meanwhile, public opinion on a variety of specific issues shifted rightward in 2009, Gallup says. More American adults hold conservative views than did in 2008, saying they see too much government regulation of business, want less influence by labor unions, favor laws that are less strict on the sale of fire arms, desire less immigration, consider themselves pro-life, and believe reports of global warming are exaggerated.

Issues in which public opinion has not moved to the right since 2008 include the death penalty, gay marriage, the Iraq war, and Afghanistan.

The latest information on the growing number of conservatives confirms a finding Gallup reported in June. The polling organization says 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservatives, 36 percent as moderate, and 20 percent as liberal. The figures represent a change from the period 2005-2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.

Unapologetically conservative

Writing in today’s Washington Post, conservative commentator William Kristol argues that the political implications of the data are clear.

“The GOP is going to be pretty unapologetically conservative. There aren't going to be a lot of moderate Republican victories in intra-party skirmishes. And – with the caveat that the political world can, of course, change quickly – there will be a conservative Republican presidential nominee in 2012.”

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