Moderation Pays Off, But Only a Little

Andrew Gelman responds to yesterday’s skepticism from me that ideological moderation would boost Republican electoral fortunes by reminding me of a factoid I’d picked up from reading his book and then misremembered—it’s not that being perceived as moderate doesn’t help you on Election Day, it’s that it only helps a little:

The short story is that moderation can get you something like 2 percentage points of the vote (or, if you want to look at it another way, extremism can lose you something like 2 percentage points).

Two percentage points isn’t nothing, but it’s not a ton.