Ever since 1999, when Gallup, the global performance-management consulting company, has started tracking this matter, there hasn’t been a time such as the one we live in right now. There are currently just as many Americans who describe themselves and the views they hold on social issues as “liberal” as there are who “conservative” citizens.

Fifteen years have passed, and the curb followed a slow but steady line up, with Americans becoming more and more liberal in their thinking on social issues. The only time the graphic showed a serious dip was when President Obama first took office in 2009.

According to Gallup statistics, liberals and conservatives are tied at 31 percent – a significant change from 1999, when for each liberal citizen there were two conservatives. And attempting to answer the question of how this changed happened, led analysts to the most obvious answer: same-sex marriage and marijuana.

In the time passed since 1999, public view over these two social issues has changed dramatically; recreational marijuana became legal in 4 states, and same-sex marriage has gone from no legality to being legal in 36 states.

It is no coincidence that these changes would be reflected in the way people describe their social and political views. According to Gallup statistics, a lot of Americans might adopt a “liberal” approach on some of the social issues, but when asked, they don’t necessarily feel they are liberal or conservative overall.

Same-sex marriage, stricter gun control and legalizing marijuana have gained support from 50 percent of the respondents in the 2010s. However, the number of people who identify as socially conservative or liberal did not surpass 40 percent.

Bottom line in the charts presented by Gallup shows that each and every one of the five issues that people were asked about from 2010 to 2014 have benefitted from a significant increase in support.

The social dilemmas were same-sex marriage, legalized marijuana, stricter gun control, increased immigration and death penalty. Earlier this year, Gallup registered an increased flow in self-described “liberals” in the United States, a demographic which rose from 16 percent in the mid-1990s to 24 percent in 2014.

Analysts realized it was these social issues that triggered the higher number of “liberal” Americans, as most of them still like to say they are “socially liberal but fiscally conservative.” Economic liberalism did not grow in public acceptability as social liberalism has.
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