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.”