September 14, 2011

How Voters View Parties’ Ideologies and Their Own

41%

Voters on average place themselves just right of center politically; this puts them slightly closer to the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.

Roughly four-in-ten voters (41%) say they are either very conservative (8%) or conservative (33%), while about half as many as that (19%) say they are either very liberal (5%) or liberal (14%); another 38% describe themselves as moderate. These findings come from an Aug. 17-21 survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. As far has how the voters perceive the political parties, there was a modest increase since 2010 (from 18% to 23%) of those who consider the Republican party “very conservative” and a decline in the number of voters who saw the GOP as moderate (from 26% to 21%). As for the Democrats, the percentage of voters who saw the party as “very liberal” in 2010 declined (from 26% to 22%).

Republican voters see themselves as somewhat more conservative than they perceive their party to be – and they see the Democrats as solidly liberal. These perceptions are amplified among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party. Democrats, by contrast, view their party’s political views as moderate. On average, Democrats’ own ideological assessments place them close to the middle of the political spectrum. Read More