Despite what Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will tell you, Barack Obama is not the most liberal president in modern era. In fact, he’s the most moderate.That’s according to a new study by political scientists Keith Poole and Christopher Hare at the University of Georgia.
Each president’s score was determined using “presidential support votes” — roll call votes in Congress in which the president has expressed clear support or opposition of a specific bill.
Although this score is dependent on the number of times the president spoke out, Keith and Poole said this effect is roughly constant for all presidents.
“So it is unlikely than any particular estimate would be affected more than others”
The data shows that from 1945 to 2011 Republican presidents have moved more to the right than Democratic presidents have moved to the left. In fact, the Democrats have become more moderate, not liberal.
While Obama has been the most moderate president since 1945, his predecessor President George W. Bush was the most conservative since the end of World War II.
The study also revealed that Congress today is more polarised than it has ever been since the late 1800s.
The two parties began to ideologically drift apart during the mid-1970s, when the Republican Party made a dramatic shift to the right on economic policies.
Poole and Hare explain that “the dwindling number of conservative, Southern ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats in Congress has produced a more liberal Democratic coalition.”
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