The perfect companion to this story describing how social cons are coping with the idea that their interests are momentarily subordinate to fiscal conservatism. Rather than quote, let me toss out a few of Pew’s graphs so that you can see how dramatic the trends are. The silver lining for conservatives: Support for gun rights is way up too.
Libertarian fee-vah — catch it?
And the gun rights data:
A near majority of independents (49/45) favors marijuana legalization and clear majorities of indies side with the overall majority on the other three. The long-term national trends explain the results on gay marriage and marijuana, and spiking support for gun rights is obviously a reaction to having a Democrat in the White House (and the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, natch), but I’m surprised by the abortion numbers. Shortly after Obama was first sworn in, Gallup saw a huge swing from pro-choice to pro-life, which I assumed at the time was also a backlash to having a liberal as president. The more you perceive the government as a threat to a right you believe in, the more ardent your support of that right is apt to be. (Although that clearly wasn’t the case for abortion during the Clinton years.) The recent surge is probably due in part to the GOP takeover of the House, with panicked leftists rallying around choice to protect it from any Republican attempts to limit it, but it looks like the trend was already on its way up before the November elections. I’m not sure why, especially since there’s no corresponding bounce for gun control. Any theories? Is it just reversion to a modern norm after a moment of panic following Obama’s inauguration?
Update: This is a poll of adults, by the way, not likely voters, but with Democratic turnout guaranteed to be up for The One’s reelection bid and independents perpetually coveted by both sides, it’s worth bearing these trends in mind.
Update: Some commenters are naturally challenging the sample, which is 32D/26R/36I. That’s not representative of the midterms, but midterm samples and presidential election samples are different. In 2008, the split in the national exit poll was 39D/32R/29I. Will they have that same advantage in 2012? Probably not, given how motivated conservatives are to beat Obama, but much depends on who the nominee is and of course intervening “events.”