The standard narrative pushed by the Left is that the Right is engaged in a destructive civil war between the Republican party establishment and “extremist” tea partiers.
But a new poll by Penn, Schoen and Berland on behalf of The Hill shows Americans are more likely to see the Democratic party as dominated by “extremists.” Forty-four percent of likely voters say the Democrats are more controlled by their extreme elements, while 37 percent say the Republicans are. The gap holds up when respondents are broken down by personal affiliation: 22 percent of Democrats said their party was more dominated than the GOP by extreme views, compared to just eleven percent of Republicans. From The Hill:
“That’s real trouble for Democrats,” said Jim Kessler, co-founder of the Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.
“All the press coverage has been about how these Tea Party candidates are fringe ideologues, and there have been high-profile examples of them proving the point,” he added. “Yet, still at this moment, you have independents saying, ‘I think the Democrats are a little more extreme than the Republicans.’ “
Respondents also called for Democrats in Congress to reach across the aisle for compromise:
Fifty-eight percent of Democrats said they would urge the lawmaker they supported to “look for compromises across the aisle”; only 35 percent would rather urge their representatives to “stay firm on their principles.”