The five agents of socialization heavily influence a person’s political beliefs and views on different issues. Family and friends can influence a person on major political positions and even affect if that person considers themselves liberal, conservative, or moderate. A liberal is open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values. A conservative holds to traditional attitudes and values and is cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion. A moderate holds moderate views in politics and sits between the extremes of liberal and conservative beliefs. Because more Americans see both sides of complex issues and see both parties as overly ideological and wish politicians would compromise more, they identify themselves as moderates than as liberals or conservatives.
The term political moderate can generally be used to describe someone who doesn't hold views on the far edges of the political spectrum. Moderates can be known to possess lower levels of political information and less likely be politically engaged than those who are closer to one of the ideological poles. Since they are so open to different ideas they may feel less involved in the political process; however, moderate is a favorable term in politics, one that condones pragmatism as opposed to extremists or radicalisms. Pragmatism allows for a variety of views on any philosophical topic. In the 2012 American National Election Study, 31 percent of Obama voters rated themselves and Obama as “moderate” or “slightly liberal,” while 21 percent of Romney voters rated both themselves and Romney as “moderate” or “slightly conservative.” Some of these people may identify with a particular party or describe themselves as independents. If they consider themselves members of a party, such as the Democratic or Republican Party, they will be open-minded about ideas from the opposition parties. One reason more Americans consider themselves moderates can be...
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