If 40% Of Americans Are Conservative, The Republican Party Should…

The latest polling from Gallup on the ideological make-up of the country and the Republican Party blows Titanic holes in so much of what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway,

Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21% calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.

…There is an important distinction in the respective ideological compositions of the Republican and Democratic Parties. While a solid majority of Republicans are on the same page — 73% call themselves conservative — Democrats are more of a mixture. The major division among Democrats is between self-defined moderates (40%) and liberals (38%). However, an additional 22% of Democrats consider themselves conservative, much higher than the 3% of Republicans identifying as liberal.

The inside-the-Beltway crowd is always looking for any excuse to abandon fiscal conservatism or social conservatism: meanwhile, conservatives make up 3/4 of their base and 40% of the country.

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On the other hand, liberals make up 20% of the country and 38% of the Democratic Party, yet the Dems are uncompromisingly liberal on every issue that matters.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Beltway stupid is what’s wrong with it. Beltway stupid tells Republicans to…

* …Stop sticking up for Christians, who make up 75% of the country in an effort to better appeal to the 25% of the population that’s left, despite the fact that many of them will never vote Republican, no matter what.

* …Support amnesty, which is extremely unpopular with the general public and hated with conservatives, in a futile effort to appeal to Hispanics, who don’t care that much about the issue, and vote 70/30 for the Democrats.

* …Abandon the core principle of the party, fiscal conservatism, and destroy the country in the process. Meanwhile, conservatives will be infuriated and Democrats will always make better offers to the sad sacks whose votes the GOP is trying to buy.

Really, how can a political party abandon the principles of 3/4 of its members? If you have a 40% block of the country that agrees with an ideology, why would you not try to make them happy first and then reach out to the 35% in the middle instead cheesing off your biggest supporters, who, incidentally, also happen to be the biggest ideological voting block in the country?

Exit question: If the Democrats are willing to go to almost any lengths to make their liberal supporters happy, when they make up only 20% of the population, how much further should Republicans be willing to go to keep the 40% of the population that leans to the Right in a good mood?

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