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Obama Outside the Mainstream of Center-Right Electorate Posted on September 6, 2012 | Polling Analysis



When President Obama accepts his party's nomination, he'll find a receptive audience among Democrats in Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena. Yet the nation's center-right electorate views President Obama as outside the ideological mainstream. In fact, likely voters and Independents alike place their own ideology closer to Governor Romney than President Obama, according to Resurgent Republic's national survey of likely voters conducted August 16-22, 2012. President Obama's adherence to government-centered policies created the chasm he now faces with the center-right electorate, and any likeability advantage the president holds has been unable to bridge this ideology divide.


As we found in our May survey, the nation's electorate is center-right, with "somewhat conservative" and "moderate" being the dominant choices for voters rating themselves. Voters also view Mitt Romney as closer to them ideologically, when asked about their perceptions of the two candidates. Despite the barrage of attacks on Romney, it is President Obama who remains outside the ideological mainstream of the electorate.



  1. Voters still perceive Mitt Romney as "somewhat conservative." When asked how they view Mitt Romney on a five-point scale, 38 percent say he is "somewhat conservative" (compared to 36 percent in May), while 26 percent say he is "very conservative" (up from 17 percent) and 15 percent say he is "moderate," (down from 22 percent).


  2. Voters are just as likely to perceive Barack Obama as "very liberal" now as they were in May. Thirty-nine percent of voters view Barack Obama as "very liberal," and 23 percent view him as "somewhat liberal," for a total of 62 percent who view Obama as a candidate of the left. In May, 36 percent viewed him as "very liberal" and 24 percent viewed him as "somewhat liberal." Moreover, Independent voters today are twice as likely to view Obama as “very liberal” (41 percent) than Romney as "very conservative" (20 percent).


  3. Voters in general, and Independents in particular, identify themselves as "somewhat conservative" or "moderate." Twenty-six percent of voters say they are "somewhat conservative" and 25 percent say they are "moderate," putting voters in solidly center-right position.


  4. Voters perceive themselves closer to Mitt Romney than Barack Obama. Placing voters on a 1 to 5 point scale (with 1 being "very liberal" and 5 representing "very conservative") and comparing them to perceptions of the presidential candidates shows voters are far closer to Mitt Romney. Voters' self-placement puts them at 3.33 on a five-point scale, far closer to Mitt Romney (3.88) than to Barack Obama (2.07), confirming our May finding that it is President Obama who is outside the ideological mainstream.



You can also read the full survey here.