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Keller @ Large: Moderate Independents On The Rise

BOSTON (CBS) - From time to time I get e-mails from listeners and viewers telling me I'm too negative, that these little get-togethers of ours too often convey bad news about the world we live in.

And while I don't like hearing that, the truth is, I generally cover the most ugly, nasty, divisive topic there is -- politics.

Listen to Jon's commentary:


What did you expect, sweetness and light?

But today I'm glad to say I have some of that elusive good news for you.

A new national poll from the Pew Research Center finds that even as Democrats and Republicans are becoming more ideologically extreme and polarized, they are the exception, not the rule.

Nearly four in ten of us now identify themselves as independents, up sharply over the past decade.

And close to half of those independents describe themselves as "moderate," suggesting that the swelling ranks of independents are a direct reaction to the immoderation and zealotry of the partisans, who are becoming ever more harsh and adamant about their ideology.

As one of those moderate independents, I call this good news.

And if you dig a little deeper into the Pew survey, you find more of it.

In spite of all the noise about the angry 99-percent, there is no sign of growing class differences in our political outlook, or growing class resentment.

Concern about income inequality, yes; but no sign of more hostility toward the wealthy or loss of faith in an individual's ability to work hard and get ahead.

And there's also little evidence of a loss of confidence in our country.

"A large majority agrees that 'as Americans we can always find a way to solve our problems and get what we want.'"

Given the steady diet of bad news we're fed – even, sometimes, by yours truly – I think these results are pretty remarkable.

Inspirational, even.

But as the kids say these days, America is what it is.

And for the most part, it is a reassuringly moderate, independent-minded, optimistic place to live.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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