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Voters See Growing Divide Between Voters, Party Leaders

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The surprising level of support for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders suggests voters in the two major parties are getting more extreme in their thinking than their respective party leaders. A sizable number of voters agree, though Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think their party’s voters and leaders are in sync.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a plurality (44%) of Democrats feels the political attitudes of the party’s voters match up with those of the party leaders. This compares to just 27% of Republican voters who say that of their own party. Nearly half (46%) of Republicans think GOP voters are moving to the right of their party leaders. Forty percent (40%) of Democrats say their party’s voters are becoming more liberal than their leadership.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of Republicans say their fellow voters are moving to the left of the GOP leadership, but only half as many Democrats (12%) see voters in their party as becoming more conservative. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 17-18, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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