Conservatives have overtaken self-identified moderates to become the largest ideological group in American politics. Two-fifths (40%) of the adult public identify themselves as conservative. Moderates are at 36 percent and liberals at 20 percent.
The number of independents describing themselves as conservative has increased the past year, from 29 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in October 2009 (see figure below).
Also, independent voters’ image of Democrats has declined slightly since November 2008. Forty-seven percent of independents rated the Democratic Party favorably, and now 40 percent are positive about Democrats.
When the ideology of the two parties and independents is analyzed, Republicans remain the most conservative party (72%). Democrats are more closely divided between liberals (37%) and moderates (39%) with 22 percent conservative.
(See Gallup poll)