A new poll out Wednesday reveals a major shift in Republican voters’ attitudes, emphasizing “culture war” issues such as the transgender craze instead of the “Old Right” consensus prioritizing taxes and trade.
According to an American Compass/YouGov survey of 1,000 Republicans who voted in the 2022 midterms, respondents overwhelmingly emphasized cultural issues as the most important challenges to face the nation. When asked to select at least two and up to five topics from a list as the most pressing problems of the day, voters were by far most concerned with cultural issues such as transgenderism, woke capitalism, and critical race theory, in addition to the border crisis and globalism. “Transgender activism” was selected the most, at 69 percent. (It’s worth noting that the options were designed to focus on battleground partisan issues and did not include a catch-all for inflation/the economy, which consistently rates highly as one of voters’ chief concerns.)
Previous surveys this year have revealed a shift in opinion among the broader American public away from transgenderism. A Gallup poll in June found 55 percent of Americans believe it is “morally wrong” to attempt to “change” one’s sex, up from 51 percent two years ago. Overwhelming majorities opposed bending sex requirements for athletic competitions.
[RELATED: Support For Transgenderism Is Cratering]
A follow-up question in the American Compass survey asked participants to weigh how much time politicians should give each issue. Individuals were asked to spread 100 points across topics reflecting how much they wish candidates would prioritize each. Placing 20 points on one topic and 10 points on another, for example, would mean that individual wanted politicians to spend twice as much time on the first. The survey generated similar results, with respondents requesting the most time be given to transgender activism and illegal immigration.
Cultural issues dominated voters’ priorities, with 44 percent of points allocated to the top battlegrounds of the culture war. Comparatively, voters assigned only 23 percent of points to what the survey called “Consensus Challenges” that “have been and remain consensus issues among conservatives.”
Only 15 percent of points were given to “Old Right” challenges “that have traditionally provided the core of the Republican Party message” such as taxes, trade, and regulation.
The economy still loomed large in voters’ minds, but American Compass reported “the center of gravity has shifted quickly” toward the financial concerns of working families. Ninety percent of voters agreed with the statement “it has gotten harder for a family to achieve middle-class security in America.” Only 10 percent said that much has become easier.
“Fewer than 30% of voters still emphasize Old Right issues while more than 40% give preference instead to New Right issues like globalization, financialization, and worker power,” the poll results suggest.
While the Republican Party used to be seen as friendly to Wall Street, GOP voters were critical. Fifty-seven percent said, “Wall Street investors are getting rich doing things that weaken our economy” compared to 43 percent who said investors “play an important role in strengthening our economy.”
Just more than two-fifths of respondents believed “unions are a positive force” in the economy and 77 percent said they supported tariffs to support manufacturing.
The American Compass survey was conducted between Aug. 11-17 and included Republican voters across educational backgrounds and income ranges. A majority of those surveyed earn an annual household income of $30,000 to $80,000, and may or may not have a four-year college degree.