If Democrats hope to paint the GOP as extreme as a way to hang onto their majorities in Congress, Dr. Rasmussen has an uncomfortable diagnosis for their leadership.  According to their latest survey of likely voters, they’re suffering from a case of projection.  The only people that campaign will convince are those already laboring under the delusion:

Most U.S. voters believe the Democratic congressional agenda is extreme, while a plurality describe the Republican agenda as mainstream.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the agenda of Democrats in Congress is extreme. Thirty-four percent (34%) say it is more accurate to describe the Democratic agenda as mainstream.

The news is better for Republicans, but not quite good, either:

Voters are more narrowly divided when it comes to the agenda of congressional Republicans. Forty-five percent (45%) of voters view the GOP agenda as mainstream, but nearly as many (40%) say it’s more accurate to call it extreme. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

This reminds me of the last stages of Liberal control in Canada after the Adscam scandal.  Liberal Party leadership insisted that while their party was corrupt, Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party were so extreme that being crooks was the lesser of two evils.  They managed to survive a few months, but eventually had to call elections — and got beat handily.  Harper has run the nation since then with much popular support, and the scare tactics of the Liberals backfired on them.

Democrats’ attempts to use scare tactics look equally effective, especially in the internals.  Majorities of every age demographic peg the Democrat agenda as “extreme” except 18-29YOs, which narrowly give a plurality to “mainstream” (45/40).  Interestingly, no age demo has a plurality or majority saying the GOP is extreme, although two age demos tie: 18-29 (36/36) and 50-64 (46/46).  Independents consider the Republican agenda mainstream, although not by a wide amount (47/38), which means that the GOP has some work to do.   However, indies think Democrats are extreme by more than a 4-1 margin, 17/73, a stunning amount that almost matches what Republican voters think of Democrats (11/80).

For that matter, 22% of Democrats think Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have an extreme agenda.  Only 17% of Republicans think that about their own party.

Of course, it’s easier for people to make that distinction with Democrats, who have control of Congress and therefore have their agenda on display, while Republicans have no access to the floor and have to push their agenda through other means.  The country has taken a long, hard look at that Democratic agenda, and has seen it for what it is.