Voters Rate the Parties' Ideologies

  • July 16, 2010

In broad terms, voters view the Democratic Party's ideology as the opposite of the Republican Party's: 58% say the Democratic Party is either very liberal or liberal while 56% say the GOP is either very conservative or conservative.

However, more voters view the Democratic Party as very liberal than see the Republican Party as very conservative (26% vs. 18%). As a result, the average rating for the Democratic Party's ideology among all voters is somewhat farther to the left than the Republican Party's is to the right. The Republican Party's rating also is closer to voters' average ratings of their own ideology, which is slightly to the right of center.

These average ratings reflect sharp differences between how Republican voters view the Democratic Party and how Democrats view the GOP. More than eight-in-ten Republican voters (83%) say the Democratic Party is liberal (34%) or very liberal (49%). By contrast, a smaller majority (61%) of Democratic voters view the GOP as conservative (33%) or very conservative (29%).

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 16-20 among 1,802 adults (1,496 registered voters) reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that the Tea Party movement is viewed as conservative, though not extremely conservative. One-in-five voters (20%) say the Tea Party is very conservative while about as many (21%) see it as conservative. Nearly half of voters (48%) had no opinion of the Tea Party's ideology or had never heard of the movement.

Read the full report, Voters Rate the Parties' Ideologies on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.