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It's cool to be a liberal again

A new Gallup poll reveals a record number of Americans are calling themselves liberal.
Supporters cheer for U.S. President Barack Obama at a campaign rally, Sept, 8, 2012.
Supporters cheer for U.S. President Barack Obama at a campaign rally, Sept, 8, 2012.

The number of Americans who self-identify as “liberal” has hit a high not seen for at least two decades, according to a new poll.

A Gallup poll released Friday found that 23% of Americans describe themselves as liberal. That's still way fewer than call themselves conservative or moderate—38 and 34% respectively. But it's the highest level since Gallup began asking in 1992.

“The changes in ideological identification among party groups has (sic) resulted in a rise in the percentage of Americans overall who call themselves liberal and a decrease in the percentage of moderates,” Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones wrote. “Even though the percentage of conservatives has generally held steady, the rise in liberal identification leaves conservatives with their smallest advantage over liberals in the last two decades.”

The survey also found that the Democratic party has become more liberal, and the GOP more conservative—perhaps no surpirse in this era polarization. Thirty-four percent of Democrats call themselves liberal, up 5 percentage points since 2007. And a whopping 70% of Republicans idetify as conservative, up eight percentage points from 2000.

Among independents, the share calling themselves conservative went up from 33% in 2012 to 35% now. 

"These data confirm the tendency for Americans who identify with the two major parties to be more ideologically homogeneous than was the case in the past, a tendency that appears to be matched by the increasing polarization between Democratic and Republican members of Congress," Gallup's Jones wrote.