The main question of this thesis is whether or not the political success of the American conservative movement is reflected by changes in the political views of the American population between 1972 and 2004. The thesis measures the strength of conservatism in the political views of Americans over time at the national and regional levels. It also measures whether or not the relative strength of the defining elements of conservatism varies over time and between regions. American conservatism is first theoretically defined as consisting of five elements. The elements are then operationalised and factor analyzed using data from the American National Election Studies, in order to uncover both the variations in the strength of conservatism and the differences in the relative importance of each of the elements in explaining conservatism. The thesis may contribute to the discussion of what constitutes American conservatism and whether and how it can be measured quantitatively. It should be useful to students and professionals of Political Science and Political History, but should also be of use to those who take a general interest in American politics and American political history.