Feature

Is America a conservative nation?

Gallup says the country moved to the right in 2009. What do the numbers mean?

A Gallup poll found that conservatives outnumber moderates and liberals in America, confirming a move rightward that Gallup first noted in January. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates matched conservatives' numbers, and a return to figures common in the 1990s. Democrats control the White House and both houses in Congress, but is conservatism king? (Watch Fox News commentators discuss conservatism's rise under Obama)

Yes, America is a center-right nation: As "the Democratic-controlled government is racing to the Left," said Jennifer Rubin in Commentary, "the country is moving Right." Independent voters in particular are getting more conservative—35 percent described their views as conservative in 2009, up from 29 percent in 2008, according to Gallup. When Democrats said the 2008 election marked a shift to the left, it was "just wishful thinking.""Conservative still"

Don't read too much into the numbers: America's conservatives are delighted over Gallup's findings, said Katie Connolly in Newsweek, but the numbers are "not exactly a reason for popping champagne" at Republican Party headquarters. Most Americans want to stick to the middle path, so they often compensate for a political power shift by inching away from the ideological leanings of the new bosses in Washington—making a little distancing from the Democrats perfectly natural."America more conservative than ever. Maybe."

The numbers don't lie: Both parties will be sorry if they ignore Gallup's findings, said Erick Erickson in RedState. This just confirms what exit polls told us last year, which was that most Americans want conservative policies. I hope the Republican Party is "paying attention to this" as it rebuilds—offer a distinct and proud alternative from the Right, rather than "Democrat-lite," and you'll win elections."Conservatives maintain edge as top ideological group"

Actually, other pollsters disagree: Conservative bloggers are latching onto this, said Maria Newman in The New York Times, but other polls, including a recent one by the Times and CBS, have found more moderates out there than conservatives—39 percent vs. 36 percent. And no matter what the numbers say, they don't necessarily tell you what people will do once they step into the privacy of a voting booth."The Conservative label"

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