A couple of interesting polls came out this week that raise some equally interesting questions about conservatism, American values, and American culture and society. One Gallup poll states that Americans greatly overestimate the percentage of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans’ 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year.
The stability of these estimates over time contrasts with the major shifts in Americans’ attitudes about the morality and legality of gay and lesbian relations in the past two decades. Whereas 38% of Americans said gay and lesbian relations were morally acceptable in 2002, that number has risen to 63% today. And while 35% of Americans favored legalized same-sex marriage in 1999, 60% favor it today.
It might come as a surprise that only 3.8% of the American population identify as LGBT. It did to me. We are inundated with news stories and manufactured outrage from the left to such a degree that it really seemed that we were transforming our laws, interpretation of our Constitution, and our religious beliefs for a significant portion of the population. But no.
Not that the tiny percentage makes any real difference in our own beliefs about states’ rights, gay “marriage,” and the assault on Judeo-Christian values, but the difference between our perception and reality speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the progressive far left.
They are so effective at both creating false impressions and pushing their ideology, in fact, that the results are measurable. According to another Gallup poll, the number of people identifying their social values as liberal matches those who identify their social values as conservative for the first time.
Gallup first asked Americans to describe their views on social issues in 1999, and has repeated the question at least annually since 2001. The broad trend has been toward a shrinking conservative advantage, although that was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since then, the conservative advantage continued to diminish until it was wiped out this year.
The newfound parity on social ideology is a result of changes in the way both Democrats and Republicans describe their social views. The May 6-10 Gallup poll finds a new high of 53% of Democrats, including Democratic-leaning independents, describing their views on social issues as liberal.
I was genuinely surprised by these findings, as well. If you had asked me whether I thought the number of Americans identifying their social values as liberal outnumbered those who identified theirs as conservative, I’d have given a qualified “yes” as an answer. I do believe that America is still a center-right country, but the center itself has shifted leftward. Therefore those of us in flyover country who make up the silent majority are shifting our own values to more closely match those of the progressive left.
Note that while there was a steady decline in the conservative advantage since polling began in 1999, that decline halted for the first two years of Obama’s presidency. We all remember what was happening then and how effective the TEA Party was in amassing support and pushing back against the Obama agenda. Indeed, we were so effective that the media, the progressive left, and a certain agency within the federal government were weaponized and used against us. Successfully.
The unrelenting culture war waged by the left has had an impact in both real change in our society and culture and in a pseudo “psy-ops” that demoralizes and undermines our side.
Conservatives tend to internalize the left’s insistence that we are a minority, that we are the radical fringe who sputter in indignation as the world’s more “sophisticated” values take root and take over. When I say that we internalize it, I don’t mean that we believe we are backwards-thinking radical fringe; instead, we begin to believe that is how the majority of our fellow countrymen and women see us.
We’re not only losing the culture war, but we believed we were losing it long before we actually were.
It leaves me wondering if too many of us sat down and shut up a little too soon.
Featured image via Gallup
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