If you thought we’ve been moving farther apart, you were right.
Gallup, which has been asking Americans if we are conservative, moderate or liberal since at least 1992, finds that the self-labeled moderate group has shrunk by 8 percentage points over the last 18 years — a trend it calls “unmistakable.” The shift is split evenly between conservatives and liberals:
It would appear that some moderates became gradually more liberal during the Bush years, and an even larger portion of them have joined the ranks of the conservatives during the Obama era.
Of course, whether you call yourself “moderate” depends in some part on where you think the middle lies. That’s why I think the proportion of self-described moderates in each party (click here for graphs) is less important than the trends of self-described conservatives and liberals:
Republicans consider themselves sharply more conservative, and Democrats think they’re sharply more liberal. The fairly steep decline in conservative