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Is the 'S' Word Scaring People Away from the 'L' Word? (The Vanishing Liberal in Minnesota)

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Ratio of self-identified conservatives to liberals is at a five-year high in the Gopher State while charges of socialism are hurled at D.C. Democrats

Although conservatism remains a political ideology that is frequently celebrated and proudly broadcast by its adherents in public office and in the electorate, it is the rare politician who proclaims he or she adheres to its culturally viewed polar opposite - liberalism.

And now it appears more and more Minnesotans are getting increasingly gunshy of the 'liberal' label as well.

A Smart Politics analysis of nearly six-dozen public polls conducted by SurveyUSA over the past five years finds the current ratio of conservatives to liberals in Minnesota to be at it highest recorded level by the polling organization.

According to a poll of 588 likely voters conducted May 3-5, 34 percent of Minnesotans identify as conservatives with just 13 percent as liberals.

The 2.62 to 1 ratio of conservatives to liberals is the highest recorded by SurveyUSA in Minnesota since it began semi-regular monthly tracking of the issue in June 2005 - besting the 2.43 to 1 ratio in July 2005.

(No other polling firm has surveyed Minnesotans more than SurveyUSA during this five-year span).

In only eight of the previous 66 polls have conservatives outnumbered liberals by at least a 2:1 ratio.

In early March of this year, three weeks before the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, only 27 percent of Minnesotans identified as conservatives, with 15 percent as liberals, for a ratio of 1.80 to 1.

Forty-seven percent of Gopher State residents identified themselves as politically moderate in both the March and May SurveyUSA polls with the number of undecideds decreasing from 11 to 6 percent.

To be sure, over the past year there has been a concerted effort by critics of the Barack Obama administration and Democrats in Congress to equate what many see as a liberal agenda coming out of Washington D.C. as 'socialism.'

While it may take a bold individual to identify as a liberal these days, only the brazen freely call themselves 'socialist.' Political discourse that blurs the line between the two political ideologies has perhaps contributed to making an already unpopular political ideology even less attractive.

As a result, the 13 percent of Minnesotans identifying as liberal in the new poll is tied for the lowest level recorded by SurveyUSA since it began tracking the views of Gopher State residents on a fairly regular basis in mid-2005.

Liberalism also hit this trough of 13 percent in August 2007, July 2008, and July 2009.

Shortly after Barack Obama was elected in November 2008, 19 percent of Minnesotans identified themselves as politically liberal - a percentage that held steady at 18 percent in December 2008, 18 percent in January 2009, and 20 percent in February 2009.

After dipping to just 14 percent in March 2009, about a month after passage of the controversial American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the percentage of Gopher State residents identifying as liberal climbed back to between 19 and 21 percent from April through June 2009.

The 34 percent of Gopher State residents identifying as conservatives in the new SurveyUSA poll is the highest level recorded by the polling organization since September 2005, when 37 percent of Minnesotans stated they were politically conservative.

The SurveyUSA poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 points.

Ratio of Conservatives to Liberals in Minnesota, 2005-2010

Date
Conservative
Liberal
Ratio
May 3-5, 2010
34%
13%
2.62
March 1-2, 2010
27%
15%
1.80
September 27-28, 2009
25%
20%
1.25
August 26-27, 2009
29%
17%
1.71
July 17-19, 2009
32%
13%
2.46
June 12-14, 2009
28%
21%
1.33
May 28-29, 2009
31%
19%
1.63
May 18-19, 2009
31%
19%
1.63
April 24-26, 2009
30%
20%
1.50
March 20-22, 2009
31%
14%
2.21
February 20-22, 2009
27%
20%
1.35
January 20-21, 2009
26%
18%
1.44
December 19-21, 2008
28%
18%
1.56
December 4, 2008
28%
18%
1.56
November 21-24, 2008
30%
19%
1.58
October 30 - November 1, 2008
31%
17%
1.82
October 17-19, 2008
26%
21%
1.24
October 16-18, 2008
31%
18%
1.72
September 30 - October 1, 2008
31%
15%
2.07
September 19-21, 2008
30%
16%
1.88
September 10-11, 2008
24%
14%
1.71
August 15-17, 2008
27%
15%
1.80
August 13-14, 2008
27%
15%
1.80
July 11-13, 2008
29%
13%
2.23
June 13-16, 2008
28%
18%
1.56
June 10-12, 2008
28%
15%
1.87
May 16-18, 2008
26%
20%
1.30
April 11-13, 2008
23%
18%
1.28
March 14-16, 2008
25%
19%
1.32
February 15-17, 2008
26%
17%
1.53
February 10-11, 2008
30%
15%
2.00
January 20-21, 2008
28%
19%
1.47
December 13-15, 2007
32%
18%
1.78
November 9-11, 2007
28%
17%
1.65
October 12-14, 2007
24%
18%
1.33
September 14-16, 2007
24%
18%
1.33
August 10-12, 2007
23%
21%
1.10
August 6, 2007
28%
13%
2.15
July 26-29, 2007
25%
16%
1.56
July 13-15, 2007
28%
18%
1.56
June 8-10, 2007
26%
17%
1.53
May 11-13, 2007
27%
17%
1.59
April 26, 2007
24%
18%
1.33
April 13-15, 2007
26%
15%
1.73
March 9-11, 2007
24%
18%
1.33
February 12-13, 2007
29%
17%
1.71
February 9-11, 2007
28%
17%
1.65
January 12-14, 2007
28%
15%
1.87
December 8-10, 2006
29%
16%
1.81
November 8-11, 2006
28%
19%
1.47
October 12-15, 2006
24%
18%
1.33
September 14-17, 2006
25%
16%
1.56
August 11-13, 2006
28%
17%
1.65
July 14-16, 2006
26%
17%
1.53
June 9-11, 2006
30%
19%
1.58
May 12-14, 2006
26%
17%
1.53
April 7-9, 2006
30%
16%
1.88
March 10-12, 2006
30%
19%
1.58
February 10-12, 2006
31%
17%
1.82
January 13-15, 2006
30%
20%
1.50
December 9-11, 2005
32%
17%
1.88
November 11-13, 2005
34%
18%
1.89
October 14-16, 2005
33%
18%
1.83
September 16-18, 2005
37%
18%
2.06
August 12-14, 2005
30%
17%
1.76
July 8-10, 2005
34%
14%
2.43
June 10-12, 2005
34%
19%
1.79
Note: SurveyUSA polling data compiled by Smart Politics.

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Previous post: Republicans Outnumber Democrats in Minnesota for First Time Since 2005
Next post: How Competitive Are U.S. House Special Elections?

1 Comment


  • So, the numbers fluctuate, conservatives have always outnumbered liberals, and the survey shows a lot of volatility in a short span.

    I wouldn't put too much on this.

  • Leave a comment


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