Think you’re a political moderate? Think again!
If I asked you if you consider yourself a political liberal, conservative or moderate, what would you say?
Lots of people would say they think of themselves as moderates. But is that response accurate? It sounds safe and respectable, doesn’t it? But some self-styled moderates actually are pretty extreme on certain issues.
Political pundit Ezra Klein says “moderates are largely a statistical myth.”
HERE‘s part of his argument:
When you dig into their policy positions, the people who show up as moderates in polls are actually pretty damn extreme — and efforts to empower them may, accidentally, lead to the rise of more extreme candidates.
What happens, explains David Broockman, a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, is that surveys mistake people with diverse political opinions for people with moderate political opinions. The way it works is that a pollster will ask people for their position on a wide range of issues: marijuana legalization, the war in Iraq, universal health care, gay marriage, taxes, climate change, and so on. The answers will then be coded as to whether they’re left or right. People who have a mix of answers on the left and the right average out to the middle — and so they’re labeled as moderate.
But when you drill down into those individual answers you find a lot of opinions that are well out of the political mainstream.