LIBERALS vs. CONSERVATIVES….Today, Scott Winship takes on an ancient question: how does the American electorate break down between liberals and conservatives? After some preliminary throat clearing, here’s his answer:

  • 42% say they’re conservative and really are conservative.

  • 5% say they’re liberal but are actually conservative.

  • 13% are genuinely centrist (or perhaps just confused).

  • 13% say they’re conservative but are actually liberal.

  • 27% say they’re liberal and really are liberal.

So: if you go by what people say, conservatives outnumber liberals 55% to 32%. If you go by how they act, conservatives outnumber liberals 47% to 40%. Here’s a bit more detail on how this breaks down:

Adults are conservative on foreign policy and national security (52 to 48) and values (62 to 38), but liberal on economic/social policy (57 to 43) and fiscal policy (60 to 40). Consistent with the idea that liberal is a stigmatized word, just 56 percent of operational liberals self-identified as liberal, while 30 percent self-identified as conservative. In contrast, 79 percent of operational conservatives said they were conservative.

If you’re interested, there’s more detail over at Scott’s blog.