A recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that rank-and-file Republicans are increasingly at odds with party leaders over how to address growing problems within the GOP. The majority of Republicans voters feel that the party needs to change in order to be competitive in future elections, but how to implement that change, and what areas need changing, is where things get interesting.
In the survey of 1,480 adults, including 497 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, Pew found “broad dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party’s positions on a number of issues.” And while the Tea Party faction feel the GOP needs to become even more conservative, there were two issues that stood out as areas of compromise among most Republicans: “On abortion and gay marriage about as many Republicans want the party to move in a more moderate direction as support a more conservative stance.”
Most Republicans also feel change is needed on two other issues – immigration and government spending – and on both the balance of opinion tilts toward taking a more conservative approach. On immigration, more Republicans say the party is not conservative enough than say it is too conservative, by roughly two-to-one. That margin is about four-to-one when it comes to the party’s position on government spending.
Among five issues tested, on only one – gun policy – do a majority of voters say the party’s position is about right.
When it comes to party leaders, those surveyed begin to show the typical Republican blind spot that we’ve come to expect, clinging to the clueless and extremists, while shunning Republican politicians that exhibit common sense and bi-partisanship:
“several prominent Republicans are quite popular with Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Of these, Rep. Paul Ryan stands out as having the most positive image among GOP voters (65% favorable). Not only is Ryan highly visible after his vice-presidential run, but the vast majority of those who know him view him favorably.
“Sen. Rand Paul also has a very positive image (55% favorable), as does Sen. Marco Rubio (50%). Sen. Ted Cruz is not as well known as other GOP figures, but his image is quite positive among those who are familiar with him, particularly among those who identify with the Tea Party.”
In contrast, 47% of Republicans view him “favorably,” while 30% held an “unfavorable” view of him. And while the party leaders, Boehner and McConnell, had lower marks than other Republicans, they received more favorable marks than unfavorable.
Here’s the survey results via an infographic from the International Business Times: