A piece on the political blog FiveThirtyEight concerning the relative conservatism of different Republican candidates has also revealed an interesting insight about the American electorate: They view Hillary Clinton as more extreme than any current Republican presidential candidate.
The determination is based on weekly polls conducted by the online pollster YouGov in conjunction with The Economist magazine. Throughout the month of June, YouGov asked poll respondents to rate every presidential candidate’s political ideology from 1-100, with 1 being the most liberal and 100 being the most conservative. FiveThirtyEight writer Harry Enten averaged the results of the polls to obtain an ideological score for each candidate.
According to Enten’s averages, the most conservative Republican in the eyes of the public is Sen. Ted Cruz, who had a 72 average. Following him were Mike Huckabee with a 71, as well as Rick Santorum and Scott Walker with scores of 70. Jeb Bush scored a 60, while former New York Gov. George Pataki was the most moderate with an even 50.
Notably, the numbers show that even the Republican viewed as most extreme, Cruz, didn’t even make it halfway to 100. The same cannot be said for the Democratic candidates. Clinton’s average ideology rating was 25, putting her further away from the moderate baseline of 50 than any of the Republicans.
The only candidate rated as more liberal than Clinton is her top challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who averaged a score of 23. Joe Biden averaged a 26, and the other announced Democratic candidates that were asked about (Lincoln Chafee, Martin O’Malley, and Jim Webb) were all in the 30s or 40s.
Public sentiment that the top Democratic candidates are more extreme than Republicans runs counter to how voters tend to perceive the parties themselves. Earlier polling by YouGov has found that on the whole the Republican party is seen as more extreme than the Democratic Party.
Extreme or not, Clinton remains the favorite to triumph in 2016. Recent polls continue to put her ahead of her major Republican rivals.
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