Political ideologies in the United States
Political ideologies in the United States vary considerably. Persons in the U.S. generally classify themselves either as adhering to positions along the political spectrum as liberal-progressive, moderate, or conservative. Modern American liberalism aims at the preservation and extension of human, social and civil rights as well as the government guaranteed provision of positive rights. It combines social progressivism and to some extent, ordoliberalism and is highly similar to European social liberalism. American conservatism commonly refers to a combination of economic liberalism and libertarianism, and to an extent, social conservatism. It aims at protecting the concept of small government, while promoting traditional values on some social issues.The ideological position a person or party takes may be explained in terms of social and economic policy. The ideological positions a person assumes on social and economic policy issues may differ in their position on the political spectrum. Milton Friedman, for example, was left-of-center on social issues but right-of-center on fiscal matters. Several ideological demographics may be identified in addition to or as subgroups of liberals and conservatives with nearly every possible ideology being found in the general population.In the United States, the major parties overlap heavily in terms of ideology, with the Democrats more to the left and the Republicans more to the right. Social scientists Theodore Caplow et al. argue, ""the Democratic party, nationally, moved from left-center toward the center in the 1940s and 1950s, then moved further toward the right-center in the 1970s and 1980s."" Small parties such as the Libertarian Party play a minor role in American politics.The size of ideological groups varies slightly depending on the poll. Gallup/USA Today polling in June 2010 revealed that 42% of those surveyed identify as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. In another polling in June 2010, 40% of American voters identify themselves as conservatives, 36% as moderates and 22% as liberals, with a strong majority of both liberals and conservatives describing themselves as closer to the center than to the extremes. As of 2013, self-identified conservatives stand at 34%, moderates at 38%, and liberals at 23%.In a 2005 study, the Pew Research Center identified nine typological groups. Three groups were identified as part of each, ""the left,"" ""the middle,"" and ""the right."" In this categorization system, ""the right"" roughly represents the Republican base, those on ""the left"" the Democratic base and those in ""the middle"" independents. Within the left are the largely secular and anti-war ""Liberals"", the socially conservative but economically left ""Conservative Democrats"", and the economically ""Disadvantaged Democrats"" who favor extended government assistance to the needy. In ""the middle"" are the optimistic and upwardly mobile ""Upbeats"", the discouraged and mistrusting ""Disaffecteds,"" and the disenfranchised ""Bystanders."" The right compromises the highly pro-business ""Enterprisers,"" the highly religious ""Social Conservatives"" (also known as the Christian right), and the ""Pro-Government Conservatives"" who are largely conservative on social issues but support government intervention to better their economic disposition.