I've been talking about something I like to call "Centrism Bias" for a while now. I think a lot of people have this idea of "Moderates" that you expressed here where those in the middle get kind of put on a pedestal of rationality and objectivity, which leads a lot of people who are clearly not moderate to identify as such. Because of this "centrism bias", when I see someone self-identifying as a moderate, I instantly see a little red flag. Often these are people with a clear lean who just want to present as a moderate to give themselves some sort of moral or rational high ground. If you criticize them and their beliefs, they often use it as a crutch and say "I'm not liberal/conservative, I'm a moderate!" to escape criticism.
Of course this doesn't apply to everyone, but its something I've seen often enough that I think it is worth mentioning.
I barely squeaked out of high school and dropped out of college without a degree of any kind, subsequently made a long series of epic lifestyle mistakes that constituted the darkest period of my life, and find myself an all-around failure with no future at age 38. I know I'm not smart and would never claim to be.