Gallup: Republicans remain consistently conservative, Dems becoming more and more liberal.

In an interview today posted at, State Senator Billie Sutton lamented that his party’s electoral woes are partly to blame from redistricting and party because South Dakota Democrats are lumped together with Washington DC Democrats:

We lost a lot of Democrats in South Dakota, that were nothing like Washington Democrats but they got tied to that. If you had a ‘D’ beside your name a lot of people in our state tied you to Washington Democrats. That’s something that I found to be a little bit surprising and it wasn’t anticipated, that the vote would go that way based on national politics. Democrats have a big task ahead of them, to separate ourselves from Washington.”

Sutton also acknowledged that redistricting placed a significant role in this year’s election. A ballot measure to create an independent panel for redistricting at the state level failed in November. “They (the Republicans) don’t have over fifty percent of the electorate. They’re forty-eight percent and, with independents, over fifty percent but there’s a difference in who gets out to vote and also redistricting is a huge issue, something we felt really good about but it went down in flames.”

Read that here.

I’d argue that Sutton badly misses the mark in most instances. The Dem’s problems stem largely because they don’t show up for elections, largely choosing not to run, or running placeholders. As well as spending their time of Sisyphean efforts such as ballot issues which have little to do with party politics. And Sutton very erroneously cites redistricting, as in two of the last 3 redistricting cycles, Republicans lost seats before they regained them.

But there might be a slight nugget of truth in one point he has, when it comes to how people view Democrats as having adopted and embracing the views of Washington DC Democrats. But the problem with his characterization is not that South Dakota Democrats aren’t viewed separately – it’s that South Dakotans are recognizing that Sutton’s party of the liberal left is more and more reflecting the policies coming out of Washington DC’s liberal elite.

Are Dems moving farther to the left? Absolutely. And there’s proof of it.

In a study released today by the Gallup organization – the trends are there and real. While Republicans are consistently conservative, Democrats on a national level are moving farther and farther to the left. And there’s no end in sight:

Since Gallup began routinely measuring Americans’ political ideology in 1992, conservative identification has varied between 36% and 40%. At the same time, there has been a clear increase in the percentage identifying as politically liberal, from 17% to 25%. This has been accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the percentage identifying as “moderate,” from 43% to 34%.

Moderates were consistently the most prevalent group from 1992 to 2002, before first yielding that designation to conservatives in 2003. Within the long-term stability of conservatism, the percentage of Americans self-identifying as conservative jumped to 40% several times between 2003 and 2011, but it has since returned to 36%.

The annual ideology figures are based on combined data from Gallup’s multiday, non-tracking surveys conducted each year, encompassing no fewer than 11,000 interviews, and in most years, more than 20,000 interviews.

Democrats Shifting Further Left; GOP Remains Conservative

Most of the long-term change in Americans’ political views occurred after 2000 and can be explained by one overarching factor — an increasing likelihood of Democrats (including independents who lean Democratic) to self-identify as liberal. Democratic liberal identification has increased by about one percentage point each year, from 30% in 2001 to 44% in 2016. As a result, liberalism now ranks as the top ideological group among Democrats.

Read it all here.

“Liberalism now ranks as the top ideological group among Democrats.”  A cold, hard fact that Democrat Leaders in the State are left to face.

Sutton should realize that it’s not that South Dakota attitudes have changed. It’s that the liberal ideologues in the South Dakota Democrat party have increased in number and have taken over.

And by and large, South Dakotans just don’t identify with the liberals who have taken over Sutton’s party.

Whether they come from Washington DC, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

2 Replies to “Gallup: Republicans remain consistently conservative, Dems becoming more and more liberal.”

  1. Anonymous

    Billie Sutton should get high marks for his comments.

    For 6 years no one in the Democrat party has said that it is their leaders in DC that are hurting SD Democrats. Herseth won every county in 2008, received the most votes of anyone ever in SD and she lost in 2010. SF does not stand for San Francisco in SD. It stands for Sioux Falls. South Dakota Democrats need to challenge their own party just like SD Republicans sometimes need to challenge theirs. Sutton might be a future leader for them.

    Where he is wrong is redistricting. It’s got nothing to do with redistricting. Yes they lost a couple of seats because of redistricting but they lost the vast majority because of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried and their policies. 2008 there were 15 Democrats in the Senate and 20 Republicans, 2010 there were 5 Democrats and 30 republicans. That is the same district boundaries. 2012 was the first election with new boundaries.

    They have had bad leadership at the top in SD. Sutton should take the reigns of the SDDP and see if he can lead moderates back to the promised land.

  2. Anonymous

    I agree re-districting is not the reason for Democrats failures in this state…the failures can be attributed to 1) a poor message of more government 2) no organization 3) few candidates 4) few QUALITY candidates (mostly statewide) and 5) a lack of resources.

    I also want to thank now Sen. Jim Bolin of Canton, he was a Rep during most of the campaign; Jason Ravnsborg of Yankton and Dave Roetman of Sioux Falls who worked tirelessly fighting and defeating Amendment T. I saw these 3 work very hard doing town halls, interviews and getting the word out on social media and heard and/or saw them.

    Many more measures coming on the ballots and the Democrats will keep pushing, so we cannot be complacent……