Why “liberal” is a less dirty word in America
The winds of change are coursing through America. A poll by WashPo/ABC shows rising support for gay marriage, legalised marijuana and immigration:
The poll showed just how much of the movement is occuring among younger voters. Support for gay marriage has grown somewhat among voters over age 65, from 15 percent to 28 percent, but six in 10 remain strongly opposed. Among those under 35, though, two-thirds support it, up from 53 percent in 2006, and nearly half support it strongly. More broadly, Republicans face a sharp partisan gap among those under 35, only 17 percent identified as Republican, with 43 percent calling themselves independent and 36 percent Democrats. Across all age groups, 21 percent identified as Republicans in the poll, the lowest level in Post-ABC polling since 1983.
Another issue that has served as a Republican rallying cry, immigration reform, may become more difficult terrain for them. While 74 percent said that the government is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants from entering the country, including majorities across party and demographic lines, public sentiment has shifted away from that view since its peak in 2007 among most groups outside the Republican core. At the same time, a growing slice of the population — including Republicans — support the broad outlines of a plan giving illegal immigrants “the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.” Six in 10 overall (61 percent) would support such a plan, up from 52 percent in June 2007. Support is highest among younger voters, and independents have gone from being roughly split on the plan to being mostly in favor of it, 59 percent now support it.
Respondents were near split on another issue that until recently was deemed untouchable in many parts of the coutry — marijuana legalization. Forty-six percent of all respondents said they supported legalizing “possession of small amounts for personal use,” with rates of support higher among men, among younger voters and among independents, a majority of whom supported legalization.
It’s important to note that this shift occurred over the duration of mere few years, so one can’t quite blame generational shifts for this fundamental change in attitude. It seems likely that the most probably explanation of this shift in opinion was that once Obama was elected the public began to realise he wasn’t as far-left and extremist as the political right made him out to be. By association the public might then believe that other social issues the political right have been fear-mongering about for decades, such as abortion, gay marriages etc. may not have been as bad as previously thought.
This in my opinion, is the inevitably consequence of crying wolf too often. That’s what the loud mouths at Fox have been doing, what Limbaugh and his ilk have been ranting about. After a certain point people start ignoring you. This development comes shortly after this.
America is finally becoming more tolerant. We may yet see the day when “liberal” is no longer a condemned label shunned by all in the USA.