The poll’s findings:
41% of conservatives do not regard Romney as a conservative; only 5% regard him as very conservative
43% of liberals do not regard Obama as a liberal; only 8% of liberals regard him as very liberal
These findings suggest that both candidates may face an enthusiasm gap.
My own view is very much in line with these findings. I don’t think Romney is a “real” conservative, nor do I think Obama is a “real” liberal, although I think Obama is closer to being a “real” liberal than Romney is to being a “real” conservative.
The Economist sums it up:
Moderates are as likely to rate Obama a liberal (44% of moderates label Obama a liberal) as liberals are, and moderates are more likely to rate Romney a conservative (54%) than are conservatives. In each case, it is the ideologues in the opposite camp who are more likely to put the “very” label on the other camp’s favorite: 30% of liberals say Romney is very conservative, and a whopping 70% of conservatives label Obama very liberal.
So after all, it seems it takes one to call one’s opposite number an extreme member of that other ideological tribe—it takes one who is not one to know one who is in the extreme.