Republicans have a major identity problem. 35% of its voters think that their party in Congress is too liberal compared to only 20% who think it's too conservative, perhaps speaking to the exodus of moderates from the party in recent years. So the party base would be happier if it lurched to the right.
Democrats and independents feel quite differently about the direction Republicans have to take though with 64% and 46% of them respectively thinking that the party's too conservative.
This puts the party's candidates in a difficult position- what you have to do to get through the primary might not be too helpful for the general election.
And the Republicans who think the party's too liberal are willing to jump - we see that happening in NY-23 and 26% of them on this poll said they'd vote for a third party candidate next year.
That's what puts the GOP in a tougher position for instance than the Democrats. 22% of Dems think that their party is too conservative- but only 8% of them threaten to vote for an independent or third party candidate next year. That makes it a lot easier for Democrats to take the far left for granted than it is for Republicans to take the far right for granted. And it could make 2010 an unusually interesting midterm year.