How to tell if you’re a liberal

16 Apr

A few years ago, I wrote an essay that argues the U.S. population is more liberal than conservative–based on their opinions, not on how people label themselves. I lost that thing, but feel inspired to re-create it today, using updated polling information. All the data supporting these points can be found at the Center For American Progress, which uses polling data from the major surveys.

Here are some positions that are often characterized as “liberal,” and some information on how many Americans support these positions.

  • The government is doing a poor or fair job of addressing problems in the financial markets. Conservatives like to argue that regulating the financial markets is bad, but 80% of Americans believe the government is doing a poor (41%) or only fair (39%) job in dealing with the problems. If thinking we need to do a better job solving problems in our financial markets means we might be liberal, then 80% of us might be liberal.
  • We need to increase fuel efficiency in our cars, trucks, and SUVs. This is a classic liberal position, and it’s one that 90% of Americans agree with.
  • We need to increase federal funding for research into alternative sources of energy like wind or solar power. Another predictable liberal position, one that attracts 81% of the American public.
  • We need to spend more money on public transportation (buses, subways, trains). Largely a belief held by the “tree huggers,” 72% of the population agrees with this position.
  • Our health care system needs serious improvement. A surprising 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with the health care in the US as a whole.
  • The government should make sure people have health care coverage. If you believe this, 64% of your fellow Americans agree with you.
  • The global climate crisis must be addressed immediately. Fifty-nine percent believe we need to take “major steps” on global warming “very soon.”
  • Government has a responsibility to help people who work hard achieve the American Dream (a good job, housing, enough to eat, health care, etc.). This is a position that some could easily call communist, but a huge 84% of the American people agree with the idea.
  • We should forget tax cuts and invest in schools, health care, and job training. An impressive 61% of Americans are willing to pass on tax cuts in favor of spending money in these areas.
  • Labor unions are a good thing. This one surprised me: 59% of the population approve of labor unions, while only 29% do not approve.
  • Unions help their members for the most part. This one surprised me too–71% of Americans believe that unions mostly help their members as opposed to hurting their members.
  • Abortion should remain legal in certain circumstances. Forty-nine percent of the country considers itself pro-choice while 45% considers itself pro-life. But 62% would not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
  • The government should guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep. If this isn’t an ultra-liberal position, I don’t know what is, but 69% of Americans agree with it.
  • Government is responsible for caring for those who cannot care for themselves. Another liberal position that is often derided by conservatives, yet 69% of the country holds this position.
  • We should expand subsidized day care. The French provide day care to parents at no charge, and 85% of Americans believe we should expand day care subsidies.
  • We need to increase the minimum wage. A strong 85% of the people agree.
  • We should increase spending on medical care for the poor. Another example where 83% of the population holds a liberal view.
  • Food stamps should be more available to the poor. Ronald Reagan may have talked about welfare queens, but 61% say not enough people receive food stamps.
  • The government should guarantee a minimum income. This sounds like another ultra-liberal/communist position, but 57% of Americans believe it.
  • We should increase housing for the poor. This position is supported by 75% of the population.

As you can see, these are some classic “liberal” beliefs, but they enjoy very strong support among the American people. A lot of people may reject the “liberal” label, but their thinking makes them more liberal than they might realize.

If you looked at the list above and agreed with most of those positions, it’s okay. We liberals tend to be a welcoming bunch. Come on in, the water’s fine. πŸ™‚

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6 Responses to “How to tell if you’re a liberal”

  1. Braxton August 30, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    do you play WoW mate ? Maybe we could team up and get some serious Gold πŸ˜€

  2. Hase February 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    this news is totaly fine my friend i have tested it and i am sure it’s ok to take care if you need to contact please don’t hesitate to contact me to my email

  3. Spurwing Plover February 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    You know your a liberal when you claim all the storms,earthquakes,doughths AND SUN BURNS is being cuased by GAIA You walk up to someone and say WERE ALL THE CHILDREN THE THE EARTH MOTHER,You want all guns banned and dope legalized

    • wlwesq September 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

      Don’t know how I missed this comment. But here’s what one liberal says about your arguments.

      Storms and droughts are caused by weather patterns, not Gaia. Earthquakes are the result of tectonic plate movement, usually.

      I don’t walk around saying “we’re all children of Mother Earth.” I believe my mother is my mother, not the planet. Still, the planet is where I live with my family–including my child, and I’d like to see the planet be in good shape for him and his children.

      I don’t want all guns banned. I don’t own a gun, but if you want to own one, that’s fine. Just don’t use it on me.

      Legalize all dope? Not all of it–that’s something the conservative Libertarians want. But I think we spend an awful lot of money on the “war on drugs” that has worked as well as Prohibition did for alcohol. There must be a better way. I just don’t know what it is.

  4. Julia May 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Yep, that’s me!

  5. delta February 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    well I believe just living the Golden rule makes you a liberal , Just puting your self in the other guy or animals place and decide how you would want to be treated . simple enough.

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