Trump Supporters Stand Out for Disliking Compromise as GOP Primaries Near

Biden’s job approval stands at 33%

Pew Research Center conducted this study to better understand the views of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters in the United States about the upcoming Republican presidential primaries, as well as Americans’ views of President Joe Biden and U.S. political parties. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,203 adults from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3, 2023. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.

Here are the questions used for the report, along with responses, and its methodology.

With less than a month until the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump has a wide lead for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. His supporters stand out for their desire for a presidential candidate who will push hard for policies that Republican voters want, even if it makes it much harder to get some things done.

Chart shows Trump supporters place less priority on seeking common ground with Democrats than GOP voters who back DeSantis or Haley

Roughly six-in-ten Trump supporters (63%) say it is more important for a Republican nominee to focus on this if elected, while 36% say it’s more important for the party’s candidate to focus on finding common ground with Democrats.

Overall, Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters are fairly evenly split on this question, as are the 14% of GOP voters who back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

By comparison, most of the 11% of Republican voters who support former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for the nomination say it’s more important to focus on finding common ground with Democrats.

  • Four years ago, 63% of Democratic voters said it was more important for a Democratic candidate to focus on finding common ground with Republicans if elected, while 35% said it was more important to push hard for policies Democrats wanted.

Trump leads the Republican field

A new Pew Research Center survey, conducted Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2023, among 5,203 adults, including 1,901 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, finds Trump with a substantial lead over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.

Chart shows In open-ended question, roughly half of Republican voters name Trump as their first choice for the GOP nomination

Roughly half of Republican voters (52%) name Trump as their first choice for the nomination in response to an open-ended question.

Far smaller shares name DeSantis (14%), Haley (11%), Vivek Ramaswamy (3%) or Chris Christie (1%) as their first choice for the party’s nomination. No other candidate is mentioned by at least 1% of GOP voters.

Nearly two-in-ten Republican voters (18%) report being undecided, decline to answer or name another person.

Views of the GOP primary field and the campaign so far

Chart shows Two-thirds of Republican voters say the Republican primary race won’t be close
  • About two-thirds of Republican voters (68%) say that their party’s caucuses and primaries will do a good job of selecting the best candidate for the general election, while 31% say they will do a bad job. Trump supporters are particularly likely to say the primary process will do a good job of selecting the nominee.
  • 54% of Republican voters rate the GOP field as either excellent (9%) or good (45%). This is comparable to GOP voters’ views of past Republican primary campaigns.
  • Most Republican voters (66%) do not think the competition for the nomination will be close.
  • About half of Republican voters (51%) say the campaign for the GOP nomination has been focused on the right issues, while 45% say it has not.
  • A narrow majority (56%) describe the campaign so far as dull, while 42% say it has been interesting.

Other key findings from the survey

Biden’s job approval rating remains low.

Chart shows By nearly 2 to 1, Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance

A third of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of his job as president, while 64% disapprove. The share who approve of Biden’s performance is down 5 percentage points since January 2023.

  • Biden’s rating is particularly down among Democrats and Democratic leaners over this year. While 61% of Democrats approve of his job performance, that reflects a 9-point drop since January.

By a 5-point margin, the Republican Party is seen as better able to effectively manage the federal government.

Democrats hold advantages on several other traits. The Democratic Party holds double-digit advantages in being seen as willing to work with the other party’s leaders and trying to unite the country. It has narrower advantages on governing ethically and honestly, having effective congressional leadership, and being concerned with the needs of middle-class people. Substantial shares of Americans see no difference between the parties on each of the traits included in the survey.


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