Gallup: 49% of Americans think Democratic Party is too liberal

posted at 8:48 am on June 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Republicans plan to attack Democratic leadership in Congress in the midterms by painting them as so liberal as to be out of the mainstream of American body politic.  That won’t be difficult to sell, according to a new Gallup poll, shows that almost half of all respondents think the Democratic Party is too liberal.  Republicans, however, have a similar if less pronounced problem in the other direction:

In the past two years, Americans have become increasingly likely to describe the Democratic Party’s views as “too liberal” (49%), and less likely to say its views are “about right” (38%). Americans’ views of the Republican Party, on the other hand, have moderated slightly, with a dip in the percentage saying the GOP is too conservative from 43% last year to 40% today, and an increase in the percentage saying it is about right, from 34% to 41%.

The recent increase in perceptions of the Democratic Party as too liberal could be a response to the expansion in government spending since President Barack Obama took office, most notably regarding the economic stimulus and healthcare legislation.

The 49% of Americans who now believe the Democratic Party’s views are too liberal is one percentage point below the 50% Gallup measured after the 1994 elections, the all-time high in the trend question first asked in 1992.

This is very bad news indeed for Democrats and a two-edged problem for the midterms.  First, it speaks to voter enthusiasm for Democratic candidates.  They won’t get the kind of turnout in 2010 that they did in 2008 when half of all Americans consider them the extreme.  Independents are the biggest problem; in 2008, when Democrats extended their control of Congress and took the White House, independents were narrowly split 43/40 in thinking that the Democratic Party ideological position was “about right.”  Now they have a 19-point deficit among independents, 33/52. They have even lost 10 points among Democrats for “about right” in the last two years, although that got evenly split between “too conservative” and “too liberal.”

Second, Obama and Democratic leadership have already hinted that they want to argue in the midterms  that Republicans are the real extremists.  That argument would have worked, according to Gallup’s data, until Democrats started pushing ObamaCare through Congress.  At that point, a plurality of voters thought the GOP was too conservative as opposed to “about right,” 43/34.  That has shifted to 40/41, while Democrats have gone from a “too liberal/about right” split of 46/42 to 49/38 in the same period.  They’re not going to win a debate over extremism, not while rolling up debt like a college freshman with his first Visa card.

In November 1994, the split for “too liberal/about right” was 42/40.  Post-election, it was 50/32.  That bodes ill for Democrats in this cycle as it stands today — but Democrats haven’t stopped spending in 2010, either.  If Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid try pushing cap-and-tax through the Senate, they may get to the 1994 post-election number sooner.


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Ah, so 51% OF Americans are still idiots.

Pablo on June 14, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Seriously……that 51% is pretty inept.

Hening on June 14, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I’d bet that 50% of the 51% don’t know the difference between a Liberal and a Conservative. And yes, a big percentage of the public are idiots.

NoNails on June 14, 2010 at 8:56 AM

51% pretty much fits the number of people who are on the dole, or do not have a Federal tax liability, so I think the numbers are very to close to reality unfortunately.

Johnnyreb on June 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Wonder what the numbers would have been if this question had been asked during the height of the Obamacare debate? Congress has been relatively mute for the past two months, and swing voters tend to have the worst cases of short-term memory loss, so 49 percent when Harry and Nancy have been on their most non-offensive behavior is pretty bad. Wait to Congress gets back in action, and odds are the 49 percent is going to head north in a hurry.

jon1979 on June 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Only 49%?

Yeesh, people are either stupid or willfully blind.

rbj on June 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

OT: Is anyone else having trouble loading this site? The formatting is off and I can’t get any of the pictures to load.

Doughboy on June 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM

It would be real news if 49% of the Democrats thought Democrats were too liberal.

But 49% of the population? Not real news. What % of the vote has the Democrat presidential candidate received on average in the last 5 elections? Around that percentage.

albill on June 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Republicans plan to attack Democratic leadership in Congress in the midterms by painting them as so liberal as to be out of the mainstream of American body politic.

Good, but someone will need to wake them up first.

petefrt on June 14, 2010 at 9:02 AM

The survey was of “Adults”…. not registered voters… not likely voters. My guess is that 83% of the 51% don’t vote.

CC

CapedConservative on June 14, 2010 at 9:04 AM

OT: Is anyone else having trouble loading this site? The formatting is off and I can’t get any of the pictures to load.

Doughboy on June 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM

No problems here.

Gang-of-One on June 14, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Forty percent of the those surveyed think the GOP is too conservative. And 40% of those surveyed think that the good advice that their parents gave them when growing up was old fashioned.

BuckeyeSam on June 14, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Democrats too liberal? That’s like saying cyanide is too lethal.

50sGuy on June 14, 2010 at 9:06 AM

that # is shockingly low.

james23 on June 14, 2010 at 9:06 AM

So, the Dems are going to campaign against GOP extremism and G.W.Bush? Are the American people dumber than a Democrat?

cartooner on June 14, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Only 49%? Give Obama some more time. He could be the greatest catalyst for conservatism in history, if hasn’t completely wrecked the country in the meantime.

Drained Brain on June 14, 2010 at 9:09 AM

If Gallup says 49% the real number is more like 59% given the resent history of Gallup polls.

thmcbb on June 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Only 49%?

Yeesh, people are either stupid or willfully blind.

rbj on June 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Ah, but as such things as Obamacare starts to kick in,as well as the world seeing the absolute incompetence B.O. is demonstrating with the oil spill situation, and if Alan Grayson decides to open his big fat loud mouth again, how swiftly the eyes of the remaining 51% will open!

pilamaye on June 14, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Only 49???? …that’s the scary part.

American Elephant on June 14, 2010 at 9:11 AM

OT: I’m starting to see “Reagan for President” bumber stickers. heh.

Firefly_76 on June 14, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Yeesh, people are either stupid or willfully blind.

rbj on June 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

It is not an either/or circumstance, unfortunately many are the former, detestably even more are the latter.

Archimedes on June 14, 2010 at 9:13 AM

“Gallup: 49% of Americans think Democratic Party is too liberal”

That means 51% of America is still asleep!

GFW on June 14, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Many of the victories by Democrats in 06 & 08 came by way of running on a Conservative platform. They lied their way into office & I can’t imagine those lies working again for at least a decade or beyond.

I agree with the commenter above; at 10 points to anything coming from gallup.

Keemo on June 14, 2010 at 9:16 AM

This is pretty sad. Only 49 %. Both the democrat and the republican parties are far too liberal. They also both disproportionately represent corporate interests at the expense of individual citizens. We have the mess in the Gulf today, becuase of this. The government was manupulated by BP, to waive certain saftety inspections, that resulted in a unsafe condition that ledt to a tragic accident, loss of life and an environmental disister. This corruption of government by corporate interests, happened under both republican and democrat watches.

paulsur on June 14, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Doesn’t anyone remember the interviews after the election? Most people who voted for Obama don’t know who the vice president is, never heard of Harry Reid, never heard of Nancy Pelosi…

Now, think. Obama got 51% of the vote.

Daggett on June 14, 2010 at 9:23 AM

51%? Soylent Green.

Coronagold on June 14, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Government schools and pop culture in action.

Lanceman on June 14, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Imagine what those numbers would be if the media were even close to honest in their reporting / analysis. Or if the majority of americans were not illiterate in economics.

The fact is, democrats can only win based on a combination of lying and voter ignorance.

Monkeytoe on June 14, 2010 at 9:26 AM

[I]n 2008, when Democrats extended their control of Congress and took the White House, independents were narrowly split 43/40 in thinking that the Democratic Party ideological position was “about right.” Now they have a 19-point deficit among independents, 33/52.

These people are way overdue for a change in political classification to one that’s more accurately descriptive.

Swing voters need to be rechristened Manically Flailing In The Dark voters or something.

leilani on June 14, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Daggett on June 14, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Very true… Pain is a great teacher, and pain is what the entire country has been living with for quite some time now, with much heavier doses coming down the pipe. I have a son in his third year of college who was going about his life and rather clueless about what was going on in the world outside of his campus. Now that his funds have been slashed, and he was forced to go out looking for a job to help with his living expenses, he has a much different view of life here in America, and is paying attention to the destruction being dished out by Liberals.

Pain and suffering have a way of bringing even the unteachable into a teachable mode of operation.

Keemo on June 14, 2010 at 9:32 AM

OT: Is anyone else having trouble loading this site? The formatting is off and I can’t get any of the pictures to load.

Doughboy on June 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM

No problems in Firefox with AdBlock Plus. But I just had a huge problem opening this site in IE. Took forever & I gave up. Must be a bad ad?

leilani on June 14, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Take that 49%, mix in some media special sauce, and the elections once again become a horse race. But I think that even the media is losing its cache’ at this point – witness the decline of papers and broadcast news. So there is hope.

paul1149 on June 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM

OT: Is anyone else having trouble loading this site? The formatting is off and I can’t get any of the pictures to load.

Doughboy on June 14, 2010 at 8:59 AM

I am. I have high-speed and update regularly, but the graphics still cause frequent shutdowns. Not sure why.

Grace_is_sufficient on June 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Let’s see the demographic breakdown of the poll. Because if you adjust it upwards (to take into account true repub generic voter identification), I’m sure that would translate into nearly 60 percent thinking dems are too liberal.

eaglewingz08 on June 14, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I am still marveling at the people who think transferring the Katrina cleanup bureaucrats to health care is a good thing. What you didn’t know bureaucrats are interchangeable? Just ask the MMS for details. /S

But it seems so true, it must be.

tarpon on June 14, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Only 49? This country is finished.

angryed on June 14, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Gallup: 49% of Americans think Democratic Party is too liberal

Well, Duuuh! You mean they didn’t see the liberals they were in the 08′ elections?

b1jetmech on June 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM

The other 51 percent are either more liberal or morons.

rollthedice on June 14, 2010 at 10:53 AM

It seems “liberalism” has something to do with liberty or liberality. Instead of saying the Democrats are “too liberal,” I propose the Americans say that the Democrats are too authoritarian and too greedy. Isn’t that what they really think?

Kralizec on June 14, 2010 at 11:01 AM

ONLY 49%?

Labamigo on June 14, 2010 at 11:05 AM

ONLY 49%?

Labamigo on June 14, 2010 at 11:05 AM

My first thought, too. But given Gallup’s knee-jerk oversampling of Democrats this is probably a significant underestimate.

Jaibones on June 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM

but let’s figure a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. snark

there are disaffected people–maybe they claim to be TEA partiers–in 5thCD Va that don’t want to vote for our Republican nominee (Robert Hurt, state senator, young, handsome, affable conservative). nope. he’s “establishment” because he currently holds public office.

so they are running a 3d party candidate who could never win public office–any public office–to teach the Republicans a lesson.

meanwhile, do you know who our current freshman, vulnerable Dem Congressman is? Perriello, Pelosi enabler, YES to Obamacare (twice), stimulus, GIVE act, cap ‘n trade & the latest thing–which will cost another zillion dollars (can’t remember its sweet little name)>

I want to scream

kelley in virginia on June 14, 2010 at 11:58 AM

O/T: Can anyone tell me anything about a site called Alex Jones’ infowars.com? I’m not familiar with it but ended up there yesterday looking for information about the no-fly zone over the oil spill. There’s some scary $$it on there about that. Are these conspiracy theorists or is this viable? Is Alex Jones the lunatic radio show guy? I would appreciate any feedback, especially since I felt really scared when I read that stuff. Thanks! By the way, read some of the comments and tell me what you think.

silvernana on June 14, 2010 at 12:36 PM

33% of the peons MAY actually vote?

Rea1ityCheck on June 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM

51% pretty much fits the number of people who are on the dole, or do not have a Federal tax liability, so I think the numbers are very to close to reality unfortunately.

Johnnyreb on June 14, 2010 at 8:57 AM

I don’t think this is even true, really. After all, look at all the rich well educated elitists who voted for Obama. I know people who are do not make a lot of money and hence they don’t pay much if any income taxes..and they still pay social security taxes and state taxes and property taxes and sales taxes and gas taxes etc. Just because they don’t make a lot of money does not mean they are on the dole.

I think a lot of that 51% are probably very well off.

Terrye on June 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM