While self-identified “moderates” have favored the Democratic candidate in each of the past five elections, Barack Obama won them by 6 points more than John Kerry did in 2004, and beat John McCain by a 60%-to-39% margin among this group of voters. He also gained the support of more voters in various other groups regarded as part of the ideological “middle” than did either Kerry or Al Gore before him, winning at least half the votes of independents (52% vs. 49% for Kerry), suburban voters (50% vs. 47% for Kerry), Catholics (54% vs. 47% for Kerry), and other key swing groups in the electorate. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.