Few partisans perceive their party as embracing extreme ideological positions. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans believe the Republican Party is ideologically conservative, but only 22 percent say the GOP is very conservative, while 52 percent say it is conservative. Half of Democrats say the Democratic Party is liberal, but only 9 percent say the party is very liberal, compared to 41 percent who say it is liberal. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say their party is politically moderate (37 percent vs. 19 percent, respectively).
Partisans are far more likely to believe the opposing political party is ideologically extreme. Roughly six in 10 (61 percent) of Democrats say the GOP is very conservative, and nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) Republicans say the Democratic Party is very liberal.
Republican views of the Democratic Party have not changed much in the past few years. In 2019, 65 percent of Republicans said the Democratic Party is very liberal, slightly fewer than do so today. However, Democrats have very different views of the GOP than they used to. Less than half (49 percent) of Democrats said the Republican Party was very conservative in 2019, a 12-point shift over the past four years.
Although Republican and Democratic elected officials frequently stress their strong ideological commitments to appeal to their respective bases, being viewed as very liberal or very conservative is not a political asset among the public overall. Americans who believe the Democratic and Republican Parties embrace the most extreme ideological position hold less positive opinions of them, a pattern evident among both parties. Only 18 percent of Americans who believe the Republican Party is very conservative view the GOP favorably. Among those who say the party is conservative, a majority express a positive opinion of the party. Similarly, only 9 percent of Americans who say the Democratic Party is very liberal view it favorably. A majority of Americans who say the party is liberal (57 percent) or moderate (57 percent) express a positive view.