Published February 13, 2013
Say you’re a staunch Republican or Democrat. Or even an independent voter who typically identifies with one party or another. Now you’re given a chance to change your side’s position on one political issue. What would that issue be?
Strikingly, both Democrats and Republicans would change their party’s position on the same issue: government spending.
In fact, four of the five top issues are the same on both sides: government spending, health care, gay marriage and taxes.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 23 percent say their party’s position on government spending is the thing that troubles them the most. The next most mentioned policy position is abortion (15 percent), followed by gay marriage (10 percent), health care (10 percent) and taxes (10 percent). Fewer than one in ten would change the Republican position on guns (9 percent), immigration (8 percent), and climate change (4 percent).
For Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, government spending tops the list at 21 percent. Fourteen percent say they don’t like their party’s position on guns and another 14 percent would change the stance on health care. That’s followed closely by gay marriage (12 percent) and taxes (10 percent). There are single-digit mentions for changing Democratic policies on immigration (6 percent), abortion (5 percent), energy (5 percent) and unions (3 percent).
Overall, majorities of Democrats (51 percent) and Republicans (55 percent) say they agree with their party on at least “many” policy matters. Democrats (11 percent) are almost three times as likely as Republicans (4 percent) to concur with their party on “all” policy positions.
The questionnaire did not attempt to characterize what either party’s position is on any particular issue, but left that judgment up to the respondent. The poll does not measure, for instance, how many Republicans would push their party to advocate for more spending, and how many for less; or how many Democrats want their party to take a more permissive stance on guns, rather than less.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,010 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from February 4 to February 6. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. For Republicans/Republican leaners it is plus or minus 5 points and for Democrats/Democratic leaners plus or minus 4.5 points.