- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Donald Lambro’s article, while accurately reporting a new Gallup Poll that shows conservatives outnumber liberals by a better than two-to-one margin, nonetheless leaves readers with the impression that conservatives are a majority of the American populace (“Conservatives maintain their lead over liberals,” Nation, Tuesday). While I do not dispute the fact the conservatives outnumber liberals, at 40 percent of the population, conservatives are still a minority.

The Gallup Poll notes that 73 percent of Republicans identify themselves as conservatives, while only 24 percent of Republicans list themselves as moderates. Liberal Republicans, meanwhile, are virtually extinct, at 3 percent. Only 38 percent of Democrats are liberals, while 40 percent identify themselves as moderates and 22 percent as conservatives.

But so what? Democrats outnumber Republicans by a better than two-to-one margin, according to another recent Gallup Poll - and the gap is widening. The number of Americans identifying as Republicans - already at a rock-bottom 20 percent - is still falling.

The Washington Times has ignored independent voters - who, at 34 percent of the electorate, outnumber Republicans. According to Gallup, 45 percent of independents identify as moderate, 34 percent as liberal and only 20 percent as conservative.

When broken down by party affiliation (or the lack thereof), moderates rule the roost. Liberals, although a much smaller minority than conservatives, have found common ground with moderates, forming an alliance that has left conservatives out in the cold. Whether Republicans like it or not, they must appeal to moderates and move ideologically toward the center if they have any hope of regaining their majority status.

SKEETER SANDERS

Huntington, Vt.

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