In the latest CBS News poll we noted more Americans think the congressional parties have become "too extreme" in their political views -- it's part of the reason so many are frustrated with Congress.
But what's driving that? Only some of it is from centrist Americans increasingly fed up with polarized parties -- most of it is actually driven by partisan Americans, who overwhelmingly see the other side as extreme. And that's not good news for the majority of Americans who want to see Congress compromise. When a representative's base voters don't think the opposition is even reasonable, then why shouldn't he or she stand firm?
The "too extreme" in their views tag was hung on congressional Democrats by 43 percent of Americans, higher than 35 percent back in 2005, and on Republicans by a majority of 53 percent, up from 46 percent in 2005.
But it's the partisan breaks on this that jump out: seven in 10 (69 percent) Republican voters think congressional Democrats are too extreme, and Democrats return the favor equally, with 69 percent saying congressional Republicans are too extreme. [emphasis added]
Having said that much of this is driven by partisans, we should also note that the increases here from eight years ago come a lot from independents. (The partisans being somewhat locked in.) The percent of independents who say one party or the other is extreme has risen and both are taken to task today: 43 percent of independents now say congressional Democrats are too extreme in their political views for their taste, up from 36 percent, and 54 percent now say that of congressional Republicans, ticked up from 49 percent eight years ago.