Why Most Americans are Both Liberal and Conservative | Newgeography.com Some points I found to be generally true and a message to all of the extremists on both sides: * According to Mr. Free and Mr. Cantril, most Americans have conservative attitudes concerning the size of government, and liberal beliefs in support of programs to protect themselves economically. This leads majorities to favor smaller government, individual initiative, and local control while endorsing major governmental programs ranging from Social Security to student grants and loans. * In 1964, as President Johnson was announcing his Great Society initiatives, Free and Cantril, using the results of commissioned Gallup polls, determined that within the electorate, ideological conservatives outnumbered liberals by more than 3 to 1 (50 percent to 16 percent). But in those very same surveys, support for liberal government programs exceeded conservative opposition by a ratio of 4.6 to 1 (65 percent to 14 percent). Using data from four of the Political Values and Core Attitudes surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center over the past two decades, we confirmed their research. Across four Pew surveys, from 1987 to 2009, ideological conservatives outnumbered liberals by a ratio of 3.5 to 1, but liberal supporters of specific programs outnumbered conservative opponents by a 2.2 to 1 margin. In every Pew survey, there were always more conservatives than liberals regarding the overall role of government and a greater number of liberals than conservatives in support of programs designed to promote equality and economic well-being. In effect, the United States is neither a center-right nor a center-left nation; it is, and always has been, both at the same time. And the greatest point of all: * For the first time ever, among Democrats in the House of Representatives, the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus contains more members than the moderate New Democrats and conservative Blue Dogs combined. Across the aisle, few congressional Republicans are willing to call themselves moderates, and liberals, once a meaningful bloc in the GOP, have entirely disappeared. Despite these divisions, the leaders of each party must find a way to work together to synthesize both strands of America's political DNA a belief in the importance of a strong national community and equality of opportunity as well as a strong desire to limit government's encroachment on individual liberty into a new civic ethos that is broadly acceptable to most Americans.