Tue, 16 Jun 2009 19:35:13 +0000 – By Jackie Gingrich CushmanCreators' Syndicate Columnist/co-author "5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours"
Since the election last fall, there has been plenty of speculation regarding the death of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Mark Twain once said, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." The same pertains to reports of the death, demise or the coming ice age of Republicans and conservatives.
Gallup released a poll on Monday it titled "'Conservatives' Are Single-Largest Ideological Group". It finds that "40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal." Well, what do you know? Just when liberals were planning a grand funeral for the conservative movement, it looks like there is still a lot of life left among supporters after all.
And there's more good news from Gallup: of the folks surveyed who identified themselves as Republicans, 73% also say they are conservative. Democrats are more divided with 40% calling themselves moderate and 38% liberal. And then the plot thickens... Guess what? Twenty-two percent of Democrats also call themselves conservative, while only a small percentage of Republicans (3%) also call themselves liberal.
For those who suggest that women are more likely to be liberals, the poll notes that, "conservatism outweighs liberalism among both genders." Both males and females are more likely to call themselves conservative rather than liberal.
So what does this mean? Being a Republican is not in vogue right now -- Obama is so cool that everyone wants to be a Democrat. However, the conservative movement is very much alive -- it's just a bit perturbed about how the Republican Party has been acting recently. Anyone who has followed news in the past few years can track the internal debate and dissatisfaction within the party.
What's next: a reordering of the Republican Party, a focus on core values and a move to be more inclusive -- an embrace of the big tent philosophy. The expected result? Recapturing Congress and the White House to reflect a population that describes themselves by a margin of 2 to 1, as conservative rather than liberal.
It's simply a question of when, not if.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a Creators' Syndicate Columnist and co-author "5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours."