The fallacy that the very liberal Democrats are the base of the Party

The media sometimes refers to those Democrats and Independents who supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries as the base of the Democratic party. We are also used to seeing those on Democratic websites who are far left or very liberal state make the same claim.

All of these people are operating under a delusion. Some people seem to be allergic to facts, but bear with me for a bit.

A recent Gallop showed the following following results:

Of all Americans, 38% self identify as conservative, 34% self identify as moderate and only 24% identify as liberal, In addition that 24% was the highest percentage identifying as liberal in Gallop annual polls in recent memory. We (all liberals) are in the minority in this country folks. And remember, people who self identify as very liberal are subset of that 24% so they comprise they are even a smaller percentage of all Americans.

The same poll also has these finding: Among Democratic Party members the percentages broke down in this manner: 19% self identify as conservative, 34% self identify as moderate and 44% identify as liberal. When you add to those identify moderates those who identify as conservatives, together they make up 53% of members of the Democratic Party. With liberals at 44%, liberals don’t even make up the majority of the Democratic Party, and again remember those self identifying as very liberal are a subset of the 44%.

Here is the link to the results of that poll:

If you have doubts about a single poll, be assured many other polls had very similar results. The results of three polls showed that the percentage of all Americans self identifying as liberals grew from 23% in 20014 to 25% in 2015.

On request I will post the links to several other polls with very similar results, but let’s explore how many people self identify as very liberal – those sometimes referred to as “the base of the Democratic Party”: Those self identifying as very liberal were unsurprisingly Bernie Sander’s biggest supporters in the primaries, but Edison Research data of voters in the primaries showed that 36% of voters in the Democratic primaries identified themselves as somewhat liberal and only 26% identified as very liberal. The others identify as moderates with a small number of conservatives.


Now 26% is decent percentage, but its only a little over 1/4 of Democratic primary voters. And we know from experience that a good number of those very liberal voters were not Democrats; they were independents voting for Bernie Sanders. Folks, fewer than 1/4 of the Democratic voters in the primary cannot be considered the base of the Democratic Party.

And remember we are talking about only Democratic voters here. We know that Democrats and Democratic leaning independents make up only about 45% of the American electorate. If 26% of those voters identify as very liberal, we can conclude that a maximum of  only 11.7% of the American electorate identify as very liberal.   (It probably less than that because remember that that 26% figure refers to those those that voted in the primaries and, from all indications very liberal individuals are usually more passionate and more likely to vote in the primaries.)

So if you identify as very liberal – and many on on Democratic websites obviously do, you are a small minority of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents and a tiny minority of the overall American electorate. Think of that the next time you are tempted to brag about how important your voting block is.

Cajun   7/7/2016

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