American adults are paying more attention to the presidential primaries this year than they have in past cycles and conservatives are the most engaged ideological group, according to a new survey.
A Gallup poll released Friday found that 63 percent of U.S. adults say they have given “quite a lot” of consideration to the presidential election, a level, the polling firm said, that is “higher” than before the primaries began in 1992, 2000, and 2004. It is on par with the level of thought given to the race in 2008 after three states had already had their primaries.
With interest in the election already high, Gallup reports that engagement is particularly high among Republicans, conservatives, older and white Americans.
While 63 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaners said they had given the election “quite a lot” of thought, the level for Republicans was 7 percentage points higher at 70 percent. Along the ideological spectrum, conservatives were the most engaged with 68 percent saying they had given “quite a lot” of thought to the election compared to 60 percent of moderates and 61 percent of liberals.
White Americans were also more likely to say they had given “quite a lot” of thought to the election than nonwhites — compare 69 percent of whites to 49 percent of nonwhites. As were older Americans, with 74 percent of people ages 65 and over giving “quite a lot” of though to the process compared to 73 percent of people ages 50-64, 60 percent of people ages 30-49, and 43 percent of people ages 18-29.
Additionally a majority of Republicans and Republicans-leaners, 54 percent, said they are “extremely or very enthusiastic about voting,” higher than Democrats and Democratic-leaners, just 49 percent of whom expressed enthusiasm for voting.
“Generally, Republicans and the key segments that make up the Republican base, such as conservatives and older Americans, are at least slightly more engaged in the election than Democrats and groups that tend to lean Democratic,” Gallup concluded in its analysis. “One challenge for the person who claims the Democratic nomination is to find ways to increase interest and excitement within the Democratic base.”
The poll of 1,022 adults was conducted from Jan. 21-25 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.