Governance Finance, Immigration
August 4th, 2023 2 Minute Read Press Release

NEW POLL: GOP Voter Preferences in Key Primary States

Voters are strongly conservative on newer culture war issues, remain market-oriented on economics, and are concerned about illegal immigration

NEW YORK, NY – In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Donald Trump remains the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. However, according to a new Manhattan Institute poll and issue brief analyzing the political and policy preferences of the GOP electorate, an early lead should not be mistaken for an insurmountable one.  

Polling roughly 600 likely Republican voters in each of the three key primary states, the Manhattan Institute finds the salience of newer cultural debates about race and gender is rising relative to that of perennial social issues such as abortion and gun rights. The data also suggest the GOP base remains hawkish on foreign policy and market-oriented on economics. Immigration also remains a high priority: Republicans in the three states remain concerned about illegal immigration but wish to ease legal immigration pathways for the highly skilled and financially independent. 

In an article forthcoming in City Journal, Jesse Arm, director of external affairs at the Manhattan Institute, will offer additional commentary on some of the survey’s major findings. These include: 

  • Cultural issues that have gained national attention relatively recently—such as critical race theory and gender transition for minors—run only a few points behind abortion in terms of importance to Republicans.  
  • The economy and inflation, taxes and government spending, and immigration are nonetheless of higher priority to most respondents than social issues. 
  • Trump (IA: 42%, SC: 43%, NH: 44%) holds a commanding lead over the GOP field with DeSantis in second place (IA: 17%, SC: 21%, NH: 13%). But DeSantis beats Trump by a wide margin when it comes to drawing support from voters backing other candidates in the field. 

On government efforts to grow American manufacturing, vast majorities (64-66%) of GOP voters opt for deregulation and tax cuts over more dirigiste measure such as regulations, tariffs, and subsidies (19-22%).  

Click here to view the full findings.


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