Silicon Valley Notebook


Alec Kwo


Who is a political moderate in the United States today? What are their stances on important national issues and who do they think should be the agents affecting structural change? In what is commonly perceived to be a polarized political climate in the United States, the middle ground often seems non-existent. However, if the United States is as polarized between right and left as some scholars say, then why do so many Americans self-identify as moderate and why do studies tend to neglect a prominently existing ideological group? In the 2014 Chicago Council Survey on American Public Opinion (n = 2108), moderates were more closely aligned with liberals on almost every foreign and domestic policy issue (excluding the size of the military and immigration policy) while their praxis was slightly more reflective of conservatives. Partisan sorting theory, an application of Blumer’s symbolic interactionism in the political arena, did not fully capture the political moderates, whose ideology did not often match their praxis.