What Are the Major Dominant Ideologies in the United States and How Are They Communicated?

The major dominant ideologies in the United States are liberalism and conservatism, and they are chiefly communicated through political participation, lifestyle and social interaction. As of 2014, there is a marked trend toward polarization in the country, with more Americans identifying strongly with one extreme or the other.

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center poll, the number of Americans who identify as consistently conservative or liberal has more than doubled in the past two decades. While there was once a greater number of people identifying as moderate and a greater overlap between the ideologies, political and social animosity between the two groups grew through the early 21st century. Both conservatives and liberals are more likely to believe the opposing ideology is genuinely misguided and even threatening.

Traditionally, ideologies are communicated through politics, with a large portion of Americans voting along ideological lines. Uniformity among conservatives and liberals means that each ideology consistently supports the same positions on social and political issues.

Based on the Pew Research survey of 10,000 adults, more than 60 percent of conservatives say that most of their close friends share their ideological views, while roughly half of liberals say the same. This shows that ideology in the United States is often expressed through social interaction.

Americans are more likely to form new friendships and relationships with those who share their ideological views. In addition, 30 to 40 percent of consistent conservatives and liberals would disapprove of a family member marrying someone with a different ideological leaning.