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

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.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

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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