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Just One-in-Five Think They Share The Ideology of the Average Democrat or Republican in Congress

Most voters continue to feel they have very little in common ideologically with the average member of Congress. But Republicans in Congress are now seen as more conservative than they were a month ago.

Just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters say their views are about the same as the average Republican in Congress, and only 22% feel that way about the views of the average congressional Democrat, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

However, 48% of voters now think the average congressional Republican is more conservative they they are. That’s up 15 points from a month ago.  Twenty-three percent (23%) say the average GOP legislator is more liberal than they are, down from 28%.

On the other side of the aisle, 59% believe that the average Democrat in Congress is more liberal than they are.  Only nine percent (9%) think he or she is more conservative than they are, while 59% believe that congressman is more liberal. These findings are little changed.

Voters are now evenly divided when it comes to rating the agenda of Republicans in Congress: 41% say it’s mainstream, while 40% view it as extreme.

The numbers for the GOP have become comparable to the numbers for the Democrats. Forty percent (40%) of voters now say the Democratic agenda in Congress is mainstream, but 45% regard it as extreme. That marks a continuing improvement in the numbers for congressional Democrats. Last August, 57% saw the Democratic congressional agenda as extreme.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters U.S. Voters was conducted on May 1-2, 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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