Moderate is an ideological category which designates a rejection of radical or extreme views, especially in regard to politics and religion. A moderate is considered someone occupying any mainstream position avoiding extreme views and major social change. In United States politics, a moderate is considered someone occupying a centre position on the left-right political spectrum.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (January 2020)
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In recent years, the term political moderates has gained traction as a buzzword. The existence of the ideal moderate is disputed because of a lack of a moderate political ideology. Voters who describe themselves as centrist often mean that they are moderate in their political views, advocating neither extreme left-wing politics nor extreme right-wing politics.
Gallup polling has shown American voters identifying themselves as moderate between 35-38% of the time over the last 20 years. Voters may identify with moderation for a number of reasons: pragmatic, ideological or otherwise. It has even been suggested that individuals vote for centrist parties for purely statistical reasons.
In religion, the moderate position is centered and opposed to liberalism or conservatism.
For Christianity, moderates in evangelicalism would oppose the ideas of Christian right and Christian fundamentalism, may be for or against same-sex marriage but oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as liberal Christians oppose the idea of Christian left. For Islam, moderates oppose the extreme views of Islamic extremism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Social movements may also be categorized on the basis of the general character of their strategy and tactics; for instance, whether they are legitimate or underground. The popular distinction between radical and moderate movements reflects this sort of categorization.