The numbers show that, contrary to claims that the political center of America is shrinking, slightly more than half of American voters self-identify as “moderate.” Now, the moderate middle is not monolithic; the group is almost evenly divided between those who lean liberal and those who lean conservative. Moreover, there’s no cleanly defined set of consensus issue positions for these folks; as Bitecofer elaborated to me in an email exchange, “the ‘center’ has been more conservative in principle (limited government, etc) but more liberal in terms of policy [such as] background checks for guns, comprehensive immigration reform, and more health care reform not less.” Still, the numbers suggest we as a nation are not fully retreating into warring far-left and far-right camps.
Moderates may be split ideologically, but politically, more see themselves as Democrats than Republicans. A majority of Democrats are self-identified moderates, including a small slice of conservative-leaning moderates. Whereas the GOP is dominated by “conservatives,” with moderates composing only about one-third of the party. And while independents are mostly moderate, the Wason Center survey found that only one out of every 10 voters are “pure independents” and don’t lean toward one party or the other.
In other words, the political home where most moderates presently feel most comfortable is the Democratic Party.