The Shrinking Republican Base

Gallup: “The percentage of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who describe themselves as both social and economic conservatives has dropped to 42%, the lowest level Gallup has measured since 2005. The second-largest group of Republicans (24%) see themselves as moderate or liberal on both social and economic issues, while 20% of all Republicans are moderate or liberal on social issues but conservative on economic ones.”

Trend: Republicans' Self-Description on Social and Economic Issues

“Republican candidates are dealing with a party base that is today significantly more ideologically differentiated than it has been over the past decade. A GOP candidate positioning himself or herself as conservative on both social and economic issues theoretically will appeal to less than half of the broad base of rank-and-file party members.”

“The caveat in these campaign decisions is that not all Republicans are involved in the crucial early primary and caucus voting that helps winnow the pack of presidential candidates down to a winner. Ideology on both social and economic issues is strongly related to age, and primary voters tend to skew older than the overall party membership. This could benefit a more conservative candidate in the primary process, but that advantage could dissipate in the general election.”

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