Only About A Tenth Of Americans Think Both Parties Are Too Extreme

A new survey suggests few people are pining for a centrist middle ground.
Pavel Kanaplitski via Getty Images

Just over a tenth of Americans think that both the Democratic and Republican parties are too extreme, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Overall, Americans say, 50 percent to 33 percent, that President Donald Trump is too extreme. They say the same of the Democratic Party, 42 percent to 34 percent, and of the Republican Party, 40 percent to 36 percent.

Views of the president and of both parties have remained relatively stable in recent years. In four HuffPost/YouGov polls conducted since the summer of 2017, the share calling Trump too extreme has stayed between 49 and 52 percent, the Democrats between 39 and 42 percent, and the Republicans between 36 and 41 percent.

The poll comes after former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced he’s considering a longshot run as a “centrist independent” who could represent the “silent majority” of Americans that he says are seeking another option. And there is evidence that many people generically like the idea of a third party, although that impulse rarely translates into substantial support for any one candidate.

But most of the people denouncing the Democrats or the Republicans as too far from the mainstream aren’t disaffected centrists under siege from both sides: They’re partisans offering a negative view of their political opponents.

Just 11 percent of Americans, the poll finds, call both Democrats and the GOP too extreme. Of the rest, a 53 percent majority finds only one party to be too extreme (for 28 percent, just the Democrats, and for 25 percent just the Republicans), and another 7 percent say that neither party is outside bounds. The remainder isn’t sure about one or both parties.

That 11 percent also lines up neatly with the approximately 12 percent of “true independents,” who don’t belong to or lean toward either of the parties.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 1-2 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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