A new survey shows that most Americans see Republicans more in line with their own political ideology than they do Democrats.
The Pew study shows that 26% of Americans see Democrats as very liberal while 18% see Republicans as very conservative. That translates into Americans thinking Republicans reflect their own political beliefs.
These average ratings reflect sharp differences between how Republican voters view the Democratic Party and how Democrats view the GOP. More than eight-in-ten Republican voters (83%) say the Democratic Party is liberal (34%) or very liberal (49%). By contrast, a smaller majority (61%) of Democratic voters view the GOP as conservative (33%) or very conservative (29%).
40% of Americans say their own political views are conservative or very conservative, 36% describe themselves as moderate while 22% say they are liberal or very liberal. When asked to describe the political group opposite their own, 83% of Republicans say Democrats are more liberal than they are, while 60% of Democrats say the GOP is more conservative than them.
One surprising number comes when voters are asked about the Tea Party.
Nearly half of all voters (48%) either never have heard of the Tea Party or express no opinion of its ideology. Among voters expressing an opinion, 26% say it is more conservative than they are, 17% say its views are the same as theirs and 9% see it as more liberal. Three-in-ten Republican voters place the Tea Party at the same point as themselves ideologically; 17% say it is more conservative while nearly as many (12%) see the Tea Party's views as more liberal than their own.