Rockefeller Republicans Redux: Political Moderates on the Right in New York State

18 April 2022, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


While ideological consistency is often prized by scholars, many citizens adopt seemingly odd mixtures of political views. These amalgams sometimes become recognizable brands. One example from the mid-20th century is the “Rockefeller Republicans,” although policy moderates on the right part of the political spectrum have long been thought of as scarce if not extinct. More specifically, in a highly polarized era with combative partisans at the extremes, the conventional wisdom is that ideologically speaking, Republicans are virtually all conservative in their ideology and policy views. Yet, statewide surveys from the Siena College Research Institute in New York reveal a surprising level of diversity within the subset of respondents who identify as Republicans. Roughly half of modern-day Republicans in New York hold moderate or liberal views across dozens of policy and attitudinal questions. These results provide a counterintuitive perspective on the extent of polarization in the United States.


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