Americans identifying as socially conservative reach 11-year high, poll

The shift is seen mostly as a result of increasing social conservatism among Republicans, when social issues such as transgenderism, abortion are prominent in national debate.

Published: June 14, 2023 11:01pm

Updated: June 15, 2023 9:36am

The number of people in the U.S. who identify as socially conservative is at its highest since 2012, according to a recently released poll. 

The Gallup poll released last week shows 38% of Americans identify as “very conservative” or “conservative” –  the same percentage as 11 years ago. 

“For most of the past eight years, Americans were about as likely to say they were liberal as conservative on social issues,” Gallup senior editor Jeffrey Jones says. 

Jones also says the shift is mostly due to increasing social conservatism among Republicans, at a time when social issues such as transgenderism and abortion are prominent in the national public debate.

The increase this year is up from 33% last year and 30% in 2021. The survey was conducted May 1-24 among a random sampling of 1,011 respondents.

The poll also found social conservatism among Americans 18-29 years old has increased 6% since 2021. Over the same period, the increase was 13% among respondents 30-49 and 11% for those 50-64 years old. 

Gallup also conducted a Values and Beliefs survey that found 69% of Americans think transgender athletes should compete only in the division that matches their biological sex. 

The finding comes as 18 states with Republican-controlled legislatures have recently passed laws that require transgender athletes to compete in the division of their biological sex. 

The issue of whether biological males should be allowed to compete in women's sports has been raised in a range of age groups, but the most high-profile situation has likely been that of Lia Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania swimmer who won an NCAA Division national championship as a female after have competed on the men's team for three years. 

The Supreme Court's 2022 decision to end women's constitutional rights to have an abortion, thus handing the matter to the states, was a significant issue in last year's midterm elections and continues to be a primary issue for state legislatures across the country. 

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