by Bruce Walker
03 November 2005
Conservatives are winning, and winning convincingly, the ideological battle for the hearts and minds of Americans.
I have written articles soon after the various Battleground Polls have come out over the last three years. People trained, like the dull, illiterate drones in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, are accustomed to acquiring information only from images, with tools like bright colors replacing, as much as possible, the precise data of words and of numbers. These dullards are also conditioned to believe that if information is important, it will be presented in a pie graph or line chart.
This, of course, is nonsense. Give me an ideological agenda and I will give you a statistical image to prove that point -- which is something that I have been pointing out in a series of articles over the last several years as soon as the Battleground Poll is released. Nothing has changed.
Read the Battleground Poll website itself (to say nothing of the even more skewed lurid descriptions by the mainstream media describing the horrible problems that conservatives face in the election a year from now.) Perhaps it helps the reader for me to quote from my past articles. My text, drawn from the guts of the data, shows the true picture of America and the trend of that electorate.
This is the foundation from which silly, ad hoc questions about transitory opinion regarding particular issues, political figures or political parties ought to derive. The reason for this disconnection between profound political facts and ephemeral polling data is that conservative politicians, parties and pundits panic too easily.
Go to the Battleground Poll and skip down through all the flashy and alarming graphs and charts. Skip also the approval of the parties to handle problems, the highly volatile intention now -- a year before the general election! -- as well. Ignore the popularity of a second term president nearing the second half of his second term: no president, Reagan, FDR or Eisenhower has done well, personally, at this point in his presidency.
The results also show progress, not a malaise. The problem is that this good news, better with each Battleground Poll, is ignored. It is not used, as it should be used, to win battles and permanently shift the balance of ideological power in America. All of the muscle to win the battles exists; it simply needs to be rallied to clear and unapologetic causes. Does this sound overly rosy?
Consider that in June 2002, in the salient question D3 of the poll, fifty-nine percent of the American people called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative,” while thirty-five percent of Americans called themselves “liberal” or “very liberal.” Excluding those who called themselves “moderate” or expressed “no opinion,” conservative voters constituted about sixty-one percent of the voters.
In September 2003, the percentage of Americans who called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” was fifty-nine percent, while the number of Americans who called themselves “liberal” or “very liberal” remained at precisely thirty-five percent – a gap between conservatives and liberals of twenty-four percentage points. Excluding the few Americans who called themselves “moderate” or had no opinion, conservatives had the same whopping sixty-one percent majority.
One year later, in September 2004, the percentage of Americans who called themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” had risen slightly to sixty percent, while the number of Americans who considered themselves “liberal” or “very liberal” had dropped to thirty-four percent -- leaving exactly the same gap between conservative and liberal of twenty-four percentage points.
Given all the doomsday pundits -- both of the Right and of the Left -- one might expect that the brand new Battleground Poll would show big changes. There were changes, but not in the way that pundits would expect. The number of Americans who call themselves “conservative” or “very conservative” increased by two percentage points to sixty-one percent, as high as it has ever been in any Battleground Poll. Now sixty-one percent of Americans consider themselves “conservative” or “very conservative,” while, again, precisely thirty-five percent of Americans consider themselves “liberal” or “very liberal” -- the gap between conservatives and liberals has actually widened by two full percentage points.
That, however, is only part of the good news for conservatives. The good news -- the great news, really -- is what has happened to the intensity of American political opinion and the direction of that intensity. The number of people who call themselves “moderate” or express “no opinion” or “do not know” has dropped from the six percent or seven percent in past polls to only four percent today. Where have these people been going?
In 2002, the number of Americans who considered themselves “strongly conservative” was fifteen percent; in 2004 the number of Americans who considered themselves “strongly conservative” had risen to seventeen percent; the latest Battleground Poll shows that the number of Americans who considered themselves “strongly conservative” has risen to twenty-one percent, almost three times as many Americans as there are who consider themselves “strongly liberal.”
Conservatives are winning, and winning convincingly, the ideological battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. The number of conservatives and strong conservatives is growing, and the number of liberals is shrinking. What America needs right now is a political battle in which the lines are clear. If we have that, conservatives will win. The Battleground Poll numbers show an unmistakable, steady and compelling shift to a big conservative majority. It is time we used that majority to change America. Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth.