Poll Finds Plurality of Voters Think Dems Are Too Liberal, Undermining Media Meme
About half (49%) of poll respondents told Gallup that they thought the Democratic Party is too far left. Forty-two percent said the GOP is too far right. The former number is the highest it has been since 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate.
Of course most journalists probably don't share that sentiment--indeed, a number have bemoaned President Obama's supposed refusal to move even further to the left. Since those journalists are well outside of the nation's mainstream, center-right political outlook, they will inevitably see Republicans as too far right and Democrats as moderate and centrist.
Hence we have Chris Matthews decrying the "frightening, almost Cambodia re-education camp going on in [the Republican] party, where they're going around to people, sort of switching their minds around saying, if you're not far right, you're not right enough."
There is probably not much hope in showing Matthews the light, but this new Gallup poll should dispel theories such as Mark Halperin's, that Republicans' steadfast opposition to the president's agenda is "unlikely to produce a majority against the administration."
In fact, as long as voters see the Democrats' agenda as too far to the left, such opposition is likely to pay off in November.
Ed Morrissey explains:
First, it speaks to voter enthusiasm for Democratic candidates. They won’t get the kind of turnout in 2010 that they did in 2008 when half of all Americans consider them the extreme. Independents are the biggest problem; in 2008, when Democrats extended their control of Congress and took the White House, independents were narrowly split 43/40 in thinking that the Democratic Party ideological position was “about right.” Now they have a 19-point deficit among independents, 33/52. They have even lost 10 points among Democrats for “about right” in the last two years, although that got evenly split between “too conservative” and “too liberal.”
Second, Obama and Democratic leadership have already hinted that they want to argue in the midterms that Republicans are the real extremists. That argument would have worked, according to Gallup’s data, until Democrats started pushing ObamaCare through Congress. At that point, a plurality of voters thought the GOP was too conservative as opposed to “about right,” 43/34. That has shifted to 40/41, while Democrats have gone from a “too liberal/about right” split of 46/42 to 49/38 in the same period. They’re not going to win a debate over extremism, not while rolling up debt like a college freshman with his first Visa card.