Poll: Half of Republican Voters Suggest GOP Leaders Not as Conservative as their Base

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following a weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus, Tuesday, Dec. 8. 2020 at the Capitol in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)
Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP

Half of Republican voters say the GOP’s base is becoming “more conservative” than the party’s leadership, a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday revealed.

The survey asked respondents if Republican voters are “becoming more conservative or more liberal than their party’s leadership,” and 50 percent of Republicans said “more conservative.” In other words, GOP party leadership, in their mind, is more liberal on the ideological scale than the average GOP voter. Even a plurality of Democrats and independents agreed — 41 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Just over a quarter of Republicans, 28 percent, say Republican voters are “about the same” as their party’s leadership, while 15 percent say “more liberal.”

Across the board, a plurality, 43 percent, say Republican voters are “more conservative” than their party’s leadership.

The same question was asked of Democrats and Democrat Party leadership. A plurality, 47 percent, of voters believe Democrat voters are becoming “more liberal” than their party’s leadership. A plurality of Democrats, specifically, (43 percent) agreed, while 35 percent said they are “about the same.” A majority of Republicans, 57 percent, believe Democrat voters are becoming “more liberal” than their party’s leadership.

The survey, taken  May 31-June 1, 2021, among 1,000 U.S. likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

The poll comes as both parties gear up for the 2022 midterm elections, as Democrats hope to expand their narrow majorities in the House and Senate as Republicans attempt to unite their party after significant displays of the division following the 2020 presidential election, prompting internal battles between the establishment and conservative wing of the caucus.

Notably, Rasmussen notes that the “percentage of GOP voters who say they’re more conservative than Republican leaders has increased 14 points in a year.”


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