Perhaps not the best possible title? Never mind, it's Friday, Friday.
Some interesting stuff from Gallup:
Forty-one percent of Americans now characterize their economic views as "conservative," or "very conservative," the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in 2009 and on par with where views were in May 2008. This year's downtick in the percentage of Americans identifying as economically conservative has been accompanied by an uptick in the percentage identifying as economically moderate -- now 37% of Americans, up from 32% last year.
While economic liberalism remains stagnant, the percentage of Americans describing their social views as "liberal" or "very liberal" has achieved a new peak of 30% -- in line with Gallup's recent finding that Americans are more accepting on a number of moral issues. Thirty-five percent of Americans say they are conservative or very conservative on social issues and 32% self-identify as socially moderate.
I'm not that happy with the increasing confusion between social conservatism and "moral issues". The two are not the same, and I would like these surveys to ask about support of equal rights for women and men, for instance. I want to know what social conservatives think about that, and if they disagree about the goal of gender equality, I will call them immoral.
But these news are good news, because the acknowledged American political spectrum has in recent years stretched from Nice Polite Conservatives (exemplified by the NPR) to foaming-at-the-mouf rabid extremist conservatives. That's not terribly representative of either the real views in the American society or the actual spectrum of political thought.
The best illustration of the definitional confusion is the fact that some wingnuts call Obama a communist or a sympathizer of militant Islamists. That's pretty hilarious.