Faced with what seems to be an increasing level of misleading rhetoric about conservative positions on public policy issues, The National Center for Public Policy Research has resolved to help bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality.
Disclaimer: We freely acknowledge that not all conservatives share every view related as "what conservatives think," nor does every speaker of what our editors perceive to be a left-wing comment think of themselves as "liberal." However, unanimity is impossible on questions such as these. We therefore offer our best judgment, and offer apologies to anyone who believes we could have done better.
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Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research
Photo of Valley Forge National Historic Park by James Lemass
Political Philosophy: Are Americans
More Liberal Than They Realize?
Overall political philosophy: According to an October-November 2003 Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans identify as conservative, 39 percent as moderate and 19 percent as liberal. A year before, the percentages were 38, 39 and 19; in 2001, 38, 40 and 19; in 2000, 37, 42 and 20.
Taxation: A September 2003 Gallup poll asked: "Do you think the tax cuts recently signed into law by George W. Bush were -- a good idea (or) a bad idea -- at this time?" 49 percent said good; 46 percent said bad; 5 percent had no opinion.
A November 2003 Gallup poll asked: "Which of the following
approaches for providing health care in the United States would
you prefer -- replacing the current health care system with a
new government-run health care system, or maintaining the current
system based mostly on private health insurance?" 38 percent
wanted a government-run health care system; 57 percent wanted
to maintain a system of private insurance, and 5 percent had
Social Security: The three Gallup polls asking about public support for President Bush's position on Social Security since Bush's inauguration found approval for Bush's policies outpolling disapproval by a range of 7 - 18 percentage points, depending upon the poll. Ten times since 2000, Gallup has asked: "A proposal has been made that would allow people to put a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts that would be invested in private stocks and bonds. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?" Each time, public support for partial privatization vastly outweighed opposition -- at times by a 2-1 margin. In the most recent poll, conducted in October 2003, 62 percent favored partial privatization, 34 percent opposed it, and 2 percent had no opinion.
Environment: The only 2003 Gallup poll asking about public support for Bush's policies on the environment found 53 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval, with 10 percent having no opinion. Approval for Bush's environmental policies outpolled disapproval in all published Gallup polls conducted since Bush's inauguration. Polls show that Americans of all political persuasions do support environmental protection -- but apparently tend to be more comfortable than not with the conservative Bush Administration's approach to it.
Corporate regulation: The most recent of five Gallup polls asking
"In general, do you think there is too much, too little
or about the right amount of government regulation of business
and industry?," found 35 percent saying there is too much
regulation; 31 percent saying it is about right; 33 percent saying
there is too little and 3 percent having no opinion. All five
Gallup polls asking this question had similar responses.
Issue Date: January 20,