Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Pew Poll of Republicans: In general, most want the party to move further right

The Pew Research Center is out this afternoon with a poll of registered voters, separated by their party orientation.

Among those who consider themselves Republicans or Repub leaners, the general message is that they want Republicans in Congress to move to the right on most issues and be less open to compromise with Democrats.

Wisconsin Congressman (and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee) Paul Ryan is the Republican who generated the most approval among Republicans, and especially among those who identify with the Tea Party wing of the party, where those with a favorable view of Ryan outnumber those with an unfavorable view by an impressive 81-7.

Democrats and Dem-leaners in the poll generally want their party to move toward the center ideologically and to try harder to reach compromise.

Other than liking Ryan, the Republicans in the Pew sample were fairly evenly divided between those who wanted to the party move to the right or move to the middle and on whether the party should be more open to compromise. But, in general, the harder-line, further right Republicans comprised at least a plurality on most such questions.

The divide between those who identify themselves with the Tea Party movement and those who do not comes across on many questions. Among all those who consider themselves Republicans or Repub leaners, Tea Party sympathizers are a distinct minority (30 percent say they agree with the Tea Party; 67 percent said they disagree or have no opinion of the Tea Party).

But when it comes to those who say they always vote in primaries, the Tea Party element is equal to those who don’t sympathize with the Tea Party. This finding is a short cut to the common analysis point about the dilemma faced by traditional or moderate Republicans. They might do better among the general electorate if they could get on the general election ballot, but they have trouble in many places winning primaries against Tea Party favorites.

Pew also found that the willingness of Republicans to move to the center varied considerably issue by issue. On same-sex marriage, for example, those who said the Republican position is “too conservative” narrowly outnumbered those who said it was “not conservative enough,” by 31-27 percent, with 33 percent saying the party’s position was about right.

But on the issue of government spending, those who want the party to move to the right swamped those who want to move to the center by 46-10. with 41 percent saying the party’s current position on spending is “about right.”

Pew’s analysis focused on Republicans, but the poll included Democrats and Dem leaners also, finding that “about a third (31%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say their party has compromised too much with the opposition party in Congress , while another third (32%) say it has not compromised enough.”

Pew’s summary of the poll is here. A longer (pdf) writeup is here.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Joshua Abell on 07/31/2013 - 03:55 pm.

    What does right mean?

    What do right, left, and center mean these days?

    I think that’s a false paradigm. It looks to me like “Republicans” are moving towards more support of freedom. For example with the gay marriage thing. Isn’t the freedom to live your life the way you want to more associated with the left?

    Unfortunately I think both parties are still passionately concerned with forcing other people to live their lives and do their business a certain way.

  2. Submitted by Geo. Greene on 08/01/2013 - 11:31 am.

    “…less open to compromise with Democrats.”

    Interesting bit there. The single most important story about Republicans is that, after Gingrich, the rule has been NO compromise AT ALL. It does not seem to matter the issue -even if whatever it is was their idea in the first place! Once the President or Democrats accept it then they must now be against it. They’ve abused the filibuster rule now for a decade and in the house they simply waste their time trying to undo Obamacare.

    The goal seems clear: Stop everything the Dems or the Pres want or agree to even if it means the country suffers. That’s not statesmanship, that’s acting like spoiled children.

  3. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/01/2013 - 12:59 pm.

    …..on the issue of

    …..on the issue of government spending, those who want the party to move to the right swamped those who want to move to the center by 46-10. with 41 percent saying the party’s current position on spending is “about right.”….

    This WILL be interesting. The House is currently struggling mightily to construct a workable budget constructed on the Ryan framework. It’s not working. Whatever will they tell their constituencies that they have whipped into a budget frenzy?

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/02/2013 - 10:40 am.

    The Republicans are an interesting group

    They can’t run their party but they think they can run a state or country. Seems to me getting the party functional again should come first. If you ask who their leaders are, they say they have many leaders. They are right and many leaders lead to the mess they have on their hands right now. If you see ten Republicans in a group, they feel they are the party. They keep pushing the Ryan budget. The problem is every step of the way it is proving to be unworkable. They are against Obamacare but provide no viable alternative solution. They talk about making changes to the Republican brand but maintain their war on women, minorities, and common sense, which equals no change. There will be no brand change until they have a strong leader, not a free for all leadership approach. Romney ran for president, lost, and then stated he didn’t want it anyway. He Failed! Palin, former Gov. of Alaska, quit mid term. She Failed! McConnell stated his “only” goal was to make President Obama a one-term president. He Failed! Bachmann ran for president and never got out of the starting blocks. She Failed! They voted to defund Obamacare 39 times and are going for 40 times. They Failed! Where is the leadership that will give the voters something to vote for, not against. Failure is a party trait they don’t seems to want to shed. Voters can help you achieve that goal.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/02/2013 - 12:45 pm.

    An interesting parallel

    between the Republican Party and the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Both are great as opposition parties; neither has any idea how to lead once they get power.

Leave a Reply