Moderates tend to stay out of politics more often than liberals. They consider both parties to be polarizing and ideologically divisive. But when it comes to voting, they tend to support Democratic candidates. In addition, they are against giving undocumented immigrants citizenship.
Moderates Avoid Politics More Often than Liberals
Moderates are less likely to engage in political discussions than liberals. That’s the conclusion of a recent Democratic think tank, Third Way poll. The poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters and asked them about various issues. The survey results show that 35 percent of moderates are less likely to engage in politics than liberals. In other words, moderates aren’t actively disengaging but avoid politics because it makes them uncomfortable.
Moderates share many of the same values as liberals. For example, they’re strong environmentalists and believe the federal government should protect consumer rights. They also support government policies that provide a minimum standard of living and affordable health care. But they’re closer to liberals than conservatives on issues such as immigration reform. For example, half of the moderates support a compromise on immigration reform, compared to just under a third of liberals.
Moderates tend to vote Democratic. Their two-party vote share has been between 42% and 62% over the last three decades. In 2008, moderates favored Obama over McCain. That’s better than the performance of either Kerry or Gore. And Obama did better than Clinton and Gore in 1992 and 1996.
They View Both Parties as Ideologically Divisive
The ideological divide between Americans and politicians has widened over the past several decades, with both parties increasingly adopting extreme positions on many issues. The growing polarization process in the United States has implications for bipartisanship and the challenges faced in governing the country.
The proportion of independents who identify as conservative has decreased, and that of those who identify as liberal has increased. Among Democrats, the percentage of independents has been stable, ranging between 19% and 24%. In addition, Republicans have remained ideologically conservative, with three-quarters of the party’s members identifying as conservative.
Since the mid-1990s, the number of Americans who identify as liberal has grown. Those who identify as conservative are more likely to be male and white. People with a college degree are more likely to identify as liberal than conservative. Young adults identify more strongly as liberal.
They Vote for Democratic Candidates
Moderates share some characteristics with conservatives and liberals. Most moderates believe that government should be more involved in ensuring equal opportunity. They also think the government has created incentives to keep poor people from working. About seven in 10 moderates disagree with the statement, “the deck is stacked against me.”
The polling data indicates that 40 percent of moderates consider themselves Democrats, 21 percent call themselves Republicans, and 39 percent identify as independents. These results confirm the conventional wisdom that the GOP has a significant problem alienating the middle class. In addition, moderates generally vote for Democratic candidates more often than Republican candidates. Among the other groups, nine percent say they vote for Democratic candidates exclusively, and 12 percent say they vote for Republicans more often than Democrats. About one-third say they split their vote equally between the two parties.
Moderate political organizations vote for Democratic candidates in California because they’re more effective than their more radical counterparts. Many organizations have independent expenditure committees that take money from competing interests. They want to ensure that their candidates have a better chance of winning. However, many moderate Democrats are also in vulnerable positions, including Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, a member of Problem Solvers.
They Oppose Giving Undocumented Immigrants Citizenship
In the lead-up to the midterm elections, anti-immigrant rhetoric is reaching boiling point. About one-third of Americans believe that immigrants are displacing native-born citizens for electoral purposes. At the same time, three-quarters worry that immigrants are reducing native-born Americans’ influence in the country. These sentiments are widespread among Republicans.
Many of these organizations oppose giving undocumented immigrants the right to become citizens. Some say this idea would erode native-born American values, while others disagree. But Teresa Covarrubias, a registered voter, is not concerned. She is registered to vote but doesn’t align with any political party. She is also skeptical of conservative politicians’ claims that immigrants undermine native-born Americans.
Another group opposed to giving undocumented immigrants citizenship is SLLI, a coalition of 38 state legislators who oppose giving undocumented immigrants citizenship. The SLLI is often characterized as the legislative arm of the FAIR organization, and its members have worked together to pass anti-immigrant initiatives. This group has attempted to deny immigrants their rights through laws similar to Arizona’s S.B. 1070.