The remarkable news in latest Battleground Poll
By Bruce Walker
Sixty-two percent of Americans define themselves as "somewhat conservative" or "very conservative" while only thirty-four percent of Americans define themselves as "somewhat liberal" or "very liberal." You don't believe me? Then just look at the internals of the bipartisan Battleground Poll, whose May 11 – 14 poll results were just announced (go to question D3.) Actually, those numbers understate the strength of conservatives in America. A whopping twenty-two percent of Americans describe themselves as "very conservative," while a paltry eight percent of Americans describe themselves as "very liberal," the term that best describes Barack Obama. Every time a new Battleground Poll comes out, I write about this phenomenon, and every time I write about it, disbelievers try to debunk the poll results. None of the arguments are valid:
Respondents don't know what "conservative" and "liberal" mean
The Battleground Poll respondents were asked how they identify themselves. They were allowed to chose to call themselves "somewhat conservative" or to call themselves "very conservative" (thirty-seven percent of those who responded to the poll chose to call themselves "very conservative") or they were allowed to call themselves "somewhat liberal" or "very liberal" (twenty-four of those who responded in the poll chose called themselves "very liberal.") The Battleground Poll does not just allow those four options in the answer to Question D3. A respondent can also say that he is a "moderate," but a scant three percent of Americans chose this presumably pivotal political position. A respondent can also refuse to answer or to say that he is "unsure." This would seem to be the catch-all for all those respondents who did not know what "conservative" or "liberal" meant. Only two percent of Americans chose this option.
The Left pretends that Americans are ignorant dolts, but when given six specific ways of categorizing their ideology, only ninety-eight percent of Americans who responded to the poll had definite ideas from a list of five ideological shadings – "very conservative," "somewhat conservative," "moderate," "somewhat liberal," or "very liberal" – selected one of those five over "don't know." These Americans appear to have very clear ideas about what their political values are.
The Battleground Poll is biased
No, The Battleground Poll is the most unbiased of all polls. It is a collaboration of the Tarrance Group, a Republican polling organization, and Lake Research Partners, a Democrat polling organization. This almost unique effort at having truly fair polls has been around since 1991, and it has proven exceeding accurate in predicting elections.
Unlike nearly all other polls, The Battleground Poll provides the internals of the polls (which is the only way anyone would not that Americans are, overwhelming, conservative – Question D3 is simply a demographic poll, asking respondents about their political affiliation, ideology, age, education and so forth.)
The Battleground Poll itself always contains a strategic analysis by Celinda Lake, the Democrat pollster, and a strategic analysis by Ed Goeas (or this time by Brian Tringali), the Republican pollster. Not only the questions and methodology, but even the analysis, is bipartisan and even handed.
Also, The Battleground Poll of May 2008 was highly pessimistic for Republicans. The past Battleground Poll results have sometimes been very encouraging to Democrats and sometimes very encouraging to Republicans, but The Battleground Poll itself has always been as close to perfect objectivity and balance as one could reasonably get in a poll.
The poll results are an aberration
This is the most fascinating part of The Battleground Poll results in May 2008: The finding of an overwhelming conservative majority in America is not an aberration at all. In fact, this author has been writing about the huge majority of Americans who identify themselves as conservative in The Battleground Poll for many years. The results of these polls are nearly always the same, and what modest fluctuations that have occurred to not fit in at all with establishment punditry. Consider:
In the twelve Battleground Poll internals since June 2002, the answer to Question D3 – do you consider yourself "very conservative," "somewhat conservative," "moderate," "somewhat liberal," "very liberal," or "don't know / refused to answer" has produced an absolute majority of respondents who identified themselves as "somewhat conservative" or "very conservative" in twelve out of twelve polls.
These polls have been conducted in mid-2002, late 2003, mid and late 2004, late 2005, early and late 2006, early, mid and late 2007, and now mid-2008. The lowest percentage of Americans who identified themselves as "very conservative" or "somewhat conservative" was fifty-eight percent and the highest percentage of Americans who so identified themselves was sixty-three percent. The highest percentage of Americans who identified themselves as "somewhat liberal" or "very liberal" has been thirty-eight percent and the lowest percentage who so identified themselves has been thirty-three percent. The actual percentages in these eleven Battleground Poll internals over six years are remarkably consistent: the gap between conservatives and liberals has been as low as twenty-one percentage points (June 2004) and as high as thirty percentage points (July 2007.)
What does this mean?
Twelve polls taken over six years by one of the most respected polling combinations – a blending of a Democrat polling organization and a Republic polling organization – which reveals the internals of its polls is not the result of the ignorance of the respondents (if it had been, then the percentage identifying themselves as "conservative" and as "liberal" would not be so close to the same in each of the eleven polls over six years.) The results are not an aberration of a single poll, but the consistent result of twelve straight polls. The Battleground Poll organization is not biased at all.
Obviously, the Republican Party is not perceived as a principled party of conservative values. Obviously, the Democrat Party is not perceived as the political party of liberal values. The effort of Democrats to downplay ideology or to present liberal positions under the vague name of "progressive" has worked. Even in those elections in which Republicans won, Democrats have performed a marvelous snow job on the American people. Before the 2004 election, sixty percent of Americans considered themselves conservative and only thirty four percent of the American people considered themselves liberal. Bush won, but with little more than fifty percent of the vote. It would seem that a new political party, which simply called itself "The Conservative Party," would do much better in elections than the Republican brand. It is a cinch that the Democrats are not going to form a major "Liberal Party" anytime soon.
Aside from pure politics, it means that conservatives are the overwhelming majority in America. It should be obvious that this great strength is hardly felt in the economic marketplace (where political correctness runs rampant) or in our institutions (where only the voice of the Left is ever heard) or in our media and entertainment (where the voice of the viewer and patron should dictate sentiment.) Conservatives are a sleeping giant in America. Largely leaderless, told that we sixty percent are a bigoted minority, cordoned off from those levers of public influence and expression which should belong to us, urged constantly to "moderate" our views (away from freedom and decency) – conservatives have only to realize their strength, to organize, and then to act: Overwhelmingly, America is us.
Bruce Walker\ has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.