Conservatives have maintained their leading position among U.S. ideological groups in the first half of 2010. Gallup finds 42% of Americans describing themselves as either very conservative or conservative. This is up slightly from the 40% seen for all of 2009 and contrasts with the 20% calling themselves liberal or very liberal.
Not only have conservatives maintained their plurality, but there are now twice as many self-described conservatives than there are liberals. The increase in people describing themselves as conservatives likely comes from the drop in those calling themselves moderates, and I can't help but feel that that has something to do with another chart Gallup provides:
While the Republican party has been the conservative party for at least the last ten years, the Democrats went from a party with a plurality of moderates, to one with a plurality of liberals. The fact the Democrats are liberal really isn't going to be surprising to anyone, but it is interesting that as liberals have taken over the Democrat party, more and more people have identified themselves as conservatives. That leads me to believe that people's views aren't changing so much as the left is increasingly looked upon as radical, or otherwise outside the mainstream while conservatism is stilled viewed favorably.
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this is a continued sense of momentum conservatives have leading up to the midterm elections. Rasmussen shows that Republicans are up 8 points among likely voters on the Generic Congressional Ballot:
Republican candidates now hold an eight-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, June 20.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for their district's Republican congressional candidate, while 36% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent. Last week, Republicans led 46% to 36%, tying the GOP's largest lead ever since it first edged ahead of the Democrats a year ago.
In January of last year the numbers were reversed with 42% supporting Democrats and only 36% supporting the Republican. Democrats have to contend with a universally unhappy response to the oil spill, strong anti-Obamacare sentiment, an economy that continues to struggle, and the increasing view that Obama is just as much to blame as Bush for the state of the economy. Unless something major changes in the next few months - and there's no reason to think anything will - Democrats will find themselves replaced in the House, and possibly (though unlikely) even the Senate.
Something to think on: Is Republicans taking control of the House and/or Senate a good thing for Obama in 2012?