Conservatives in the United States are largely members of the Republican Party. But many people consider themselves conservative regardless of their political stance. These people hold more to the idea of conservatism than political affiliation.
Do you know what it means to be conservative? Can you consider yourself conservative but be part of the Democratic Party? Let’s take a look at some of the often-misunderstood facts about conservatives in the U.S. to help answer these questions.
Conservatism in the U.S., including in the political sphere, dates back to the 18th century. More recently, the Republican Party is known for being more conservative than the Democratic Party. But that’s only a small picture of conservatives. Just look at these 7 facts:
Around 59% of conservatives say that religious faith is particularly important to them. Conservatives also cling to personal responsibility, hard work, and raising children. The American Trends Panel surveyed conservatives about their ideological beliefs, and religious faith was the most consistent response for the most important traits.
Research shows an “overwhelming preference” among conservatives for rural lifestyles. Forty-one percent of conservative Americans report they would prefer to live in a rural area or small city than in a more urban area. Three-quarters of conservatives also prefer areas where homes are far apart and amenities are a few miles away.
The most consistent conservatives are those most involved in politics. Pew Research surveyed Americans and found that half of the consistent conservatives had contacted elected officials in the past two years. They also report more monetary donations, campaigning, and volunteering in political party campaigns. Conservatives are also more likely to vote than other groups, with 78% of conservatives reporting they vote regularly, compared to only 49% of the general population.
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Consistent conservatives tend to make the most noise in society and politics. They often hold devout Christian views. Unfortunately, some of the loudest voices are also those responsible for the most controversy and “meanness”. This would seem to be in direct contrast to their “values”, but that remains pretty consistent in recent years.
One Pew Research report shows that 47% of consistent conservatives utilize Fox News as their primary source of news. A staggering 88% report trusting Fox News as their source of information. No other news outlet came close. This data supports the idea that news media is biased and that political groups tend to prefer one source over another depending on the viewpoint of the network.
According to the Pew Research Center, around 9% of the overall population of the U.S. considers themselves conservative. Around 20% of Republicans are consistently conservative; 33% are mostly conservative, and 37% have some conservative and liberal views.
Neoconservatism was born in the 1960s. The group that founded this form of conservatism were liberals who became disenchanted with the ideas of pacifist foreign policy and the counterculture of the time. As more people began to question their liberal ideals, the idea of neoconservatism was born. Neoconservatism continued to support many of the more liberal political agendas, such as the Civil Rights movement, racial immigration, and military action.
Does being a “conservative” or “liberal” really matter? Honestly, no matter what your political affiliation is – conservative or liberal – it is far more important to be a good person and be a contributing member of society than it is to have a political or ideological title. There are good and bad conservatives and good and bad liberals. Where do you want to fall on the spectrum?