So who in the Democratic Party is driving this leftward shift we’re seeing?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, in recent years, the share of Democrats who identify as liberal and support more liberal positions is greater than the overall share of the Democratic Party who support those positions — meaning that liberals seem to be responsible for much of the broader leftward shift.4
But this shift isn’t present in just the party’s more liberal members. We also saw movement from other demographic groups, depending on which question we looked at.
For instance, on the question of whether the government has a special obligation to help black people as a result of past discrimination, we saw a distinct gap in opinion when breaking down respondents by race. Far more black Democrats were in favor. White Democrats, on the other hand, have historically been less liberal on this question. The majority of the movement we saw in recent years was among white Democrats, who got closer to black Democrats on issues of race, as well as liberal Democrats, who broke away from conservative and moderate Democrats.