America sees Joe Biden as a moderate

Linley SandersData Journalist
August 18, 2020, 1:18 PM UTC

Even as President Donald Trump seeks to paint the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, as too liberal for America, the latest data from The Economist/YouGov Poll indicates that Biden is viewed by about one-third of registered voters as a political moderate (32%). Only about a quarter of registered voters see him as liberal (22%) or very liberal (26%).  

The Economist/YouGov Poll asks respondents to categorize the presidential candidates on the political spectrum from “very liberal” to “very conservative.” Americans who consider themselves political moderates are more likely than voters overall to see Biden’s ideology as similar to their own: 37 percent of moderates call Biden a moderate, too.  

Even Americans who consider themselves liberal (44%) or very liberal (51%) are more likely to see Biden as a middle-of-the-road politician than similar to their viewpoints. The data indicates Biden boasts a 20-point lead over President Donald Trump among political moderates and a 78-point lead among Americans who are either liberal or very liberal. 

About half (49%) of Americans who call themselves very conservative or conservative believe Biden is very liberal, with very conservative adults being especially likely to say that (56%). About one in eight (12%) of the very conservative and conservative group call Biden a moderate. 

Only 15 percent of registered voters view Trump as a moderate, about half of the number that call Biden a moderate (32%). One-third (33%) of registered voters call Trump a conservative, and about one-quarter (24%) call him very conservative. Moderates themselves are split between whether Trump is a conservative (24%) or a moderate (23%). 

Related: Explore the Economist/YouGov tracker of Joe Biden’s perceived ideology 

See the toplines and crosstabs from The Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: This Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US registered voters interviewed online between August 9 – 11, 2020. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.5% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty