Poll: Conservatives maintain edge as most popular ideological group

Americans are more likely to consider themselves conservative this year than they were in 2008, resulting in conservatives — now 40% of the American public — outnumbering moderates for the first time since 2004. While Gallup first documented this trend in June, the finding has been sustained through the third quarter.

Conservatism is most prevalent among Republicans. However, the overall increase in this ideological stance since 2008 comes largely from political independents, among whom 35% say they are conservatives thus far in 2009 — compared with 29% last year.

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