The terms Liberal vs Democrat are often used interchangeably, as the Democratic Party has traditionally been associated with liberalism (a political philosophy based on belief in progress) and Republicans have been associated with conservatism (a belief in tradition and social stability). However, some people believe that there is a significant difference between the beliefs of those who identify as Liberal and those who identify as Democrat.
For example, some Liberals – who are known as economic liberals – focus on the dangers of an over-mighty state and prefer small and non-interventionist government. By contrast, others – who are known as social liberals – place greater emphasis on the need for state action to redress inequality and tackle climate change.
In addition, some people who identify as Liberal – including those who belong to the Lib Dems – are pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights. By contrast, some Democrats are anti-choice and oppose government regulation of personal matters such as sexual and social behaviors.
In general, Democrat-aligned groups tend to favor bigger government providing more services and are more likely than Republican-aligned groups to oppose increases in military spending. Meanwhile, Outsider Left, the youngest of our typology groups, are almost all liberal in their politics and beliefs, yet they’re deeply frustrated with the Democratic Party and its leaders. We see a clear link between their frustration and the tendency to identify as Liberal, although they don’t necessarily agree with every detail of the Democratic Party platform.