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Social Liberalism Reaches a New High

Following the election of Barack Obama there was a significant spike in the number of Americans who considered themselves social conservatives, but since then the number of social conservatives has been dropping. Now Americans see themselves as more socially liberal than they ever have before. From Gallup:

Trend: Thinking about social issues, would you say your views on social issues are -- [ROTATED: very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, (or) very liberal]?

We have seen this change in opinion on social issues result in a real change in policy. Liberals have finally started to win the long culture war on issues like LGBT rights and marijuana policy. In the last election same-sex marriage ballot measures and marijuana legalization initiatives won big in several states.

Interestingly, we haven’t seen a surge in economic liberalism. The number of people who considered themselves economically conservative spiked after Obama took office but since then the numbers have simply returned to where they were before 2008.

Social issue don’t tend to change big business in the way economic reforms would and our politics are heavily dependent of campaign donations. As a result, many Democrats have focused on advancing social issues to prove their liberal bona fides to the base.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at