2 Data Points Suggest Republicans Should Maybe Tone It Down a Little


Most Americans describe themselves as moderates and rate the two major political parties as relatively extreme, according to a recent survey conducted by a Democratic think tank.


Centrism has fallen out of fashion in the post-Trump age, but voters may be ready for a return to boring.


A Third Way and Impact Research survey released last month found that U.S. voters on average rate themselves as moderate or slightly conservative-leaning.

(Source: Third Way. Chart: Third Way.)

The analysts asked registered voters “to place themselves on a 10-point ideological scale, with 0 being the most liberal, 10 being the most conservative, and 5 being the middle, and then to plot the Democratic and Republican parties on the same scale.”

  • Respondents gave themselves an average ideological score of 5.6, which meant they leaned “slightly more conservative than center,” per the survey.
  • Democratic and Republican politicians “are rated similarly far from the center, and Democrats are seen as further from where voters place themselves ideologically.”
  • “Given voters’ moderate self-rankings compared to both parties, it is unsurprising that when asked which party nominated the most moderate candidates for Congress this year, a large plurality of swing voters (46%) said ‘neither party,'” the analysts wrote.

Third Way’s advice for Democrats: “In an era when Republicans are leapfrogging each other to drive their party to ever-more dangerous extremes, it is imperative that Democrats be seen as the mainstream alternative — not simply a mirror image of polarization.”


Following disappointing midterm election results for the GOP — and particularly hardline “MAGA” candidates in pivotal races — prominent Republicans have urged a more measured rhetorical tone to avoid turning off normie voters.

  • The GOP’s failure to capture independents, who broke for Democrats by 4 percentage points in the midterms, has also been cited as a reason to move away from more polarizing politicians, like Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, R-Ga.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Aaron Zitner summed up the dilemma in a midterms post-mortem last month: “The election results revive a debate that runs through many election campaigns about whether to drive turnout among a party’s core supporters, which often means promoting the most ideologically sharp policy ideas, or whether the better course is to try to persuade voters in the political center.”
By We'll Do It Live