Polls show Americans are embracing social conservatism in numbers not seen since 2012

While there have been plenty of positive developments in the culture wars—especially a wave of legislation across the United States banning “sex changes” for children and restricting abortion—I’m always wary of claims that we are “winning” in any way. The culture itself has certainly been lost, and when I read a recent list of “wins”—against the transgender industry, Drag Queen Story Hour, etc.—I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of these victories were regarding issues that weren’t even on our radar a decade ago.  

The victories that the social conservative movement achieves are actually an indication of just how bad things have gotten and how far the goalposts have been moved as a result. 

That said, there have been some interesting trend lines lately—trend lines that have gotten LGBT activists groups very, very worried. For example, Gallup recently released a set of polls indicating that in 2023, 38% of Americans reported that they are “very conservative” or “conservative” on social issues specifically, which is up from 33% in 2022 and 30% in 2021, an 8-point jump in only two years. This corresponds to a decline in those identifying as either “very liberal” or “liberal” on social issues, which has dipped to 29% from 34% in each of the past two years, with 31% identifying as moderate. 

What is interesting, Gallup’s report noted, is that “the last time this many Americans said they were socially conservative was 2012, during a period when consistently more U.S. adults identified as conservative rather than liberal on social issues.” Gallup noted that the “survey comes at a time when many states are considering policies regarding transgender matters, abortion, crime, drug use and the teaching of gender and sexuality in schools.” This is unlikely to be a coincidence—as progressive activists show their hand, their sheer radicalism on many of these issues puts them at odds with most ordinary Americans.  

That is why, as Gallup reported, the “increase in conservative identification on social issues over the past two years is seen among nearly all political and demographic subgroups. Republicans show one of the largest increases, from 60% in 2021 to 74% today. Independents show a modest uptick of five percentage points, from 24% to 29%, while there has been no change among Democrats (10% in both 2021 and 2023).” Since 2021, the report stated, there has been “double-digit increases in conservative social ideology among middle-aged adults — those between the ages of 30 and 64. At the same time, older Americans’ ideology on social issues has been stable, while there has been a modest increase in conservative social ideology among young adults.” 


2 thoughts on “Polls show Americans are embracing social conservatism in numbers not seen since 2012

  1. Navi says:

    An interesting vibe shift for sure. But I think it has more to do with how far off the deep end the woke left has gone than an actual rightward shift in ideology. Americans are less pro-life than they were in 2012, though they are more pro-life than they were in 2022 (a trend that will hopefully continue as the Roe era is further and further in the rear-view mirror). Support for gay marriage is also up. Elon Musk, a pro-choice Clinton/Biden voter that supports a carbon tax and has rented concubines, nicely encapsulates what I mean here:


    See also: J.K. Rowling. As another example, compare Ron Desantis (the most socially conservative candidate that’s actually viable) with Obama ‘08 (the progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, the Official Establishment Candidate). Obama supported marriage as being between a man and a woman in 2008, though he opposed a federal law or constitutional amendment that would ban or invalidate same-sex marriages. There’s no record of Ron Desantis ever opposing gay marriage, and he clearly accepts Obergefell as a settled issue. His position on LGBT issues is that doctors shouldn’t be able to mutilate or chemically castrate children, nor should kindergarteners be taught about pregnant men. That’s about as far as he goes, a position supported by 60-70 percent of Americans. The other difference is that Desantis signed a moderate pro-life law (heartbeat + rape exception) rather than derailing a bill to protect abortion survivors and getting his wife to call partial-birth abortion a “legitimate medical procedure”. At the federal level, a heartbeat bill isn’t going to make it to the president’s desk any time soon.

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