One question surfaces repeatedly as the pundits obsess over the exit polls. Have Americans lurched to the Left in any meaningful way? If so, are they likely to sign long-term leases in Hotel Obama, or are they simply on loan until they experience the consequences of modern-day liberalism?
Some insist it’s the latter. The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne calls Obama’s election a “clear repudiation of conservative economic ideas,” while Peggy Noonan believes we’re experiencing “a new liberal moment.”
Hey, not so fast!
Let’s obsess a little more over those exit polls. Several commentators have noted the president-elect’s success in winning the hearts (if not the minds) of 20 percent of self-described conservatives while McCain, in contrast, wooed only 10 percent of liberals.
But the more salient finding is that conservatives continue to outnumber their liberal neighbors by the comfortable margin of 34 percent to 22 percent. This nearly matches the edge conservatives enjoyed in the 2004 election (34 percent to 21 percent) and — drum roll, please — is measurably better than the 29 percent to 20 percent conservative advantage in 2000, when George W. Bush was first sworn in.
How many of our liberal friends are willing to acknowledge that, despite spending millions on hateful Moveon.org and Soros-funded campaigns that portray conservatives as war criminals, as haters of the poor, as greedy, ignorant, intolerant, and incompetent, Americans have grown more conservative over the past eight years?
If we also obsess over the state exit polls, conservatives will be relieved to learn that they still outnumber liberals in 42 states. (See map.) With the exception of Massachusetts (where liberals carry the day by 11 points, 32 percent to 21 percent) and Vermont (where they enjoy an eight-point edge), the liberals’ advantage where it does exist is actually quite modest. We’re talking about six points in New York, four in Hawaii, three in Maryland and Rhode Island, two in Connecticut and a tie in New Jersey — not exactly overwhelming endorsements of EU-style socialism. Even in that den of Left Coast liberalism — California — conservatives hold a modest five-point advantage over their liberal brethren.
Elsewhere, the conservative advantage is daunting. We outnumber them by 10 points or better in 32 states; in 21 of those states, the margin is a seemingly insurmountable 2 to 1 or greater. To Senate watchers, conservative dominance in 21 states translates into one thing: When these 42 senators (including 9 moderate Democrats) receive mail, phone calls, and e-mails from their constituents, they’re unlikely to be hearing pleas for higher taxes, more government spending, and a hollowed-out military. On the contrary, there’s an ideological foundation sufficient to sustain a Senate filibuster on virtually any liberal policy initiative.