Social Policy & Politics Program | Graphic

It’s a Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod World: Most Voters are Moderates in Presidential Elections

by Michelle Diggles, Ph. D and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

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The Republican Party focuses on mobilizing its conservative base to win elections. The Democratic Party focuses on mobilizing its liberal base. But the bulk of votes are in the middle. Presidential elections have featured more moderate voters than either liberals or conservatives in every year since exit polls began asking the question. In the battle for the White House, moderates dominate.

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End Notes

1 CBS News Poll: 1976 National Election Day Exit Poll [USCBS1976-NATELEC]. CBS News, Fielded November 2, 1976.

2 CBS News/New York Times Poll: National election exit poll, 1980 [USCBSNYT1980-NATELEC]. CBS News and New York Times, Fielded November 4, 1980.

3 CBS News/New York Times Poll: National Election Day Survey, 1984 [USCBSNYT1984-NATELEC]. CBS News and New York Times, Fielded November 6, 1984.

4 ABC News Poll: National Election Day Exit Poll, 1988 [USABC1988-7477NATELEC]. ABC News, Fielded November 8, 1988.

5 Voter Research and Surveys: National Election Day Exit Poll, 1992 [USVRS1992-NATELEC]. ABC News/CBS News/NBC News/CNN, Conducted by Voter Research & Surveys, Fielded November 3, 1992.

6 Voter News Service National Exit Poll, 1996 [USVNS1996-NATELEC]. Conducted by Voter News Service, Fielded November 5, 1996.

7 VNS 2000 Election: National Election Day Exit Poll [USVNS2000-NATELEC]. Conducted by Voter News Service, Fielded November 7, 2000.

8 National Election Pool Poll # 2004-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2004-NATELEC]. Survey by National Election Poll, Conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, Fielded November 2, 2004.

9 National Election Pool Poll # 2008-NATELEC: National Election Day Exit Poll [USMI2008-NATELEC]. Survey by National Election Poll, Conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, Fielded November 4, 2008.

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