Voters who identify themselves with Republican Party but call themselves conservatives in terms of social and economic values is now at 42 percent, the lowest level since 2005, according to a new Gallup poll.
While just three years ago 57 percent of Republicans identified as conservative, the number has now dropped to its current level. Just one decade ago, the percentage of self-identified conservatives was between 39 and 44 percent.
Of Republicans, 24 percent said they held more moderate or liberal views on social and economic policies, while 20 percent considered themselves more liberal on social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, than economic issues, such as taxes and government entitlement spending. Ten percent were the opposite of that, listing more conservative social views and more liberal economic views.
The poll also found that those aged 65 or older were likely to be more conservative on both ideological viewpoints than Republicans aged 18 to 29. Analysts believe that can help and hinder the GOP’s prospects in winning back the White House in the 2016 presidential elections.
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“This may be good news for GOP who are running on a conservative platform and can assume that older Republicans will constitute a sizable portion of primary and caucus voters,” said Frank Newport of Gallup. “But it would not be such good news when it comes to the challenge of energizing a broader base of Republican voters to come out to vote in the typically higher-turnout general election.”
“Ideology on both social and economic issues is strongly related to age, and primary voters tend to skew older than the overall party membership,” he continued. “This could benefit a more conservative candidate in the primary process, but that advantage could dissipate in the general election.”
Currently, the Republican presidential field has 10 candidates, with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announcing a second run for the White House on June 4. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are expected to announce their candidacies later in June.
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