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Most Voters Think Democrats Led By the Left, GOP Led by the Right

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Most voters see a clear ideological divide between the leaders of the two major political parties: The Democrats are led by liberals, and the Republicans are helmed by conservatives.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Likely U.S. Voters describe the Democratic Party leadership as at least somewhat liberal, with 41% who feel it’s Very Liberal, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty-six percent (26%) believe the leaders of the Democratic Party are moderates, while just seven percent (7%) think of them as somewhat or very conservative. (To see survey question wording, click here).

By comparison, 66% of voters characterize the Republican Party leadership as at least somewhat conservative, including 35% who say it’s Very Conservative. Seventeen percent (17%) see the GOP leadership as moderate, while 12% view it as somewhat or very liberal.

The good news for Republicans is that “conservative” is still the best political label you can put on a candidate for public office as far as voters are concerned.  “Liberal” remains the most unpopular political label which helps explain why most liberals now call themselves “progressives.”

But a plurality (49%) of voters thinks neither party in Congress is the party of the American people.  Voters are also narrowly divided over whether either of the major political parties has a plan for where it wants to take the nation.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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