The liberal coalition may not be as liberal as you’d expect. According to the most recent “Battleground Poll” from the George Washington University and Politico, there are some surprisingly large reservoirs of conservatism among many voter groups typically viewed as card-carrying members of the liberal voting bloc.
In some cases, a majority of these voters actually describe themselves as conservative. And in many ways they have begun to turn on the president’s relentlessly liberal agenda. Clearly, much more ideological turbulence is to be found these days on the left than on the right.
Here are some examples, drawn from the response to the question asking voters to categorize themselves according to their ideology:
Among the takeaways are:
While conservatives outnumber liberals two to one (63 percent to 32 percent) in congressional districts controlled by the GOP, Democratic lawmakers represent districts with a much more balanced ideological breakdown – 46 percent conservative to 49 percent liberal. This suggests that more Democratic lawmakers may need to watch their backs when they vote a hard-left line than the other way around. And when it comes to Obama’s handling of such crucial issues as jobs, federal spending, and the economy, Democratic-controlled districts are not exactly rife with Obama mania. Fully 46 percent disapprove of his handling of the jobs issue, half disapprove of his economic policies, and 53 percent give a big thumbs down on his spending habits.
Similarly, union households, 60 percent of which swooned for Obama in 2008, split right down the middle ideologically. This must be an inconvenient truth, to say the least, for the increasingly radical leftist leadership of the modern labor movement. And it’s all the more reason for conservatives to reinvigorate efforts to liberate union members from being required to pay dues against their will.
The findings on Hispanics are especially interesting. Obama, it is often noted, won two-thirds of Hispanic votes in 2008. But ideologically, this group is up for grabs — 51 percent are conservative and 49 percent liberal. And the gender gap here is the reverse of the typical dynamic. Usually, women lean more to the liberal side than do men. For example, women who are white, or under age 45, or politically independent tend to be more liberal than their male counterparts. Hispanic women, though, are more likely to be conservative (54 percent) than are Hispanic men (49 percent). The internal data in the Battleground poll reinforce the sense that Hispanics should be very receptive to conservative messages, especially those relating to the economy, jobs, and spending. Hispanic men, in particular, should be a target audience for our message of limited government and pro-growth economic policies — 87 percent of them list pocketbook issues as their primary concern.
Urban dwellers are also nearly as conservative (45 percent) as liberal (47 percent). Considering that 63 percent of them cast their ballots for Obama in 2008, this suggests either that a quiet ideological realignment is underway in our cities, or that Obama waltzed into the Oval Office with the support of millions of urban conservatives. Here, too, we find precious few happy campers. The majority is disappointed with the president’s handling of spending and the economy, and a plurality with his performance on the jobs issue.