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GOPers Far More Critical of Party Leaders Than Democrats Are

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Though there’s been voter anger towards the leaders of both major political parties in this year’s highly contentious presidential primary season, Republican voters are far more likely than Democrats to say their party bosses are out of touch with the voter base.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 73% of Likely Republican Voters believe GOP leaders have lost touch with Republican voters. Just 20% say those leaders have done a good job representing GOP voters. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

By comparison, only 28% of Democratic voters say their leaders have lost touch with the party's voter base. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe instead that the party's leaders have done a good job representing Democratic voters.

These findings are in line with surveys for several years that have asked voters to rate their party leaders in Congress. 

Despite Donald Trump’s record turnout in this year’s primaries, most Republican voters are convinced that their party’s leaders don’t want him to get elected president. Democrats are more confident than Republicans that their party will be unified after next month's national conventions.

Among all voters, only 13% think Republican leaders have done a good job representing GOP values, while 38% say Democratic party leaders have done a good job representing what their party stands for. Sixty-nine percent (69%) feel Republican leaders have lost touch with their voters, compared to 47% who think that’s true of the Democratic leadership.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 16 and 19, 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.

A plurality (44%) of Democrats feels the political attitudes of the party’s voters match up with those of party leaders. This compares to 27% of Republican voters who say that of their party's leaders.

Democrats and Republicans are almost equally critical of the other side's leadership. Among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties, 71% think GOP leaders have lost touch with Republicans voters, compared to 54% who say the same of Democrats.

Those 40 and older feel more strongly than younger voters do that leaders of both parties have lost touch, but those of all ages are much more likely to see a disconnect between Republican voters and their leaders.

Most liberals (58%) think Democratic leaders are doing a good job representing the party's voters; moderates and conservatives tend to disagree. But sizable majorities in all three groups think GOP leaders are out of touch with their fellow Republicans.

Among those who think most Republican leaders don't want Trump to win the White House, 77% say those leaders are out of touch with their voter base.

In early April, 51% of Democrats said they opposed their party’s use of superdelegates, individuals selected by the party who can support any candidate at the party's convention regardless of who wins their state's popular vote. Bernie Sanders and his supporters claim the system rigged the election for Hillary Clinton who has far more superdelegates in her corner than her challenger does.

Sanders’ unexpected success in the 2016 presidential campaign has exposed the growing rift between the Democratic party establishment and the party’s more progressive wing. Still, Democratic voters are more likely than voters in general to think their party should identify with Clinton rather than Sanders.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful Republican in Congress, has reluctantly endorsed Trump but continues to criticize the nominee’s more controversial positions 

Both Trump and Clinton earn high unfavorables among all likely voters. But Democrats like their candidate more than Republicans do.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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