If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Monday, April 11, 2016

What America Thinks: What Makes Voters Vote?

When Americans vote in elections, we’re more likely to ask who they’re voting for rather than what they’re voting for. So we decided to ask America what it thinks about some of the hot button issues currently on the campaign trail.

President Obama was pushing again last week for his latest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and 81% of voters say the selection of a new Supreme Court justice is important to their vote, including 60% who consider it Very Important. But partisan differences are clear: Republicans are ready to reward any candidate who refuses to consider the president’s nominee, while Democrats are more likely to punish that candidate at the polls.

Donald Trump has put illegal immigration at the center of the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Illegal immigration is an important voting issue for 78%, with 44% who say it’s Very Important. But Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to consider it a Very Important issue.

Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton have both had to do damage control recently following comments they made about abortion. For 70% of voters, the abortion issue is important to their vote, including 40% for whom it’s Very Important. Forty-seven percent (47%) of women say abortion is a Very Important voting issue, compared to 33% of men.

Former President Bill Clinton got in an angry confrontation with a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally for his wife last week. Fifty-nine percent (59%) consider racial issues important to their vote, although just 27% think they’re Very Important. Blacks rate racial issues as much more important than whites and other minority voters do.

The recent spat between Trump and Republican rival Ted Cruz over their wives appears to have been of more interest to the media than it is to voters. Just 46% say their perception of a candidate’s spouse is even somewhat important to how they will vote in November, with only 15% who think it’s Very Important.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.