Republican voters overwhelmingly prefer worker-first economic policy to a business-friendly approach
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As Republican presidential primary candidates prepare to meet tonight to debate the future of the GOP, a new poll shows that their voters have abandoned the party’s traditional focus on tax cuts, deregulation, and free trade. The American Compass/YouGov poll of 1,000 Republican voters finds a substantial preference for the New Right’s worker-first framing of key economic challenges to the Old Right’s business-friendly approach. 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.
While cultural issues receive the most emphasis, the center of gravity on economic policy has clearly shifted. On many key issues, GOP voters stand in direct opposition to the market fundamentalism that still predominates some major conservative institutions and presidential campaigns.
The poll’s key findings include:
- Middle-class security: 90% say that “middle-class life has gotten more expensive and wages have not kept up, so it has gotten harder” to achieve middle-class security.
- Labor market: 85% see employer complaints of labor shortages as “a good thing, because it will force employers to offer better jobs and pay higher wages, spreading more prosperity to workers.”
- Unions: 41% believe that “unions are a positive force that help workers and reduce corporate power,” not yet a majority but a remarkable share for a party that has been staunchly anti-union for decades.
- Tariffs: 77% support tariffs to boost manufacturing and 78% say “the government should provide support to ensure that America is a leader in advanced technologies like semiconductors.”
- Wall Street: 57% choose the view that “Wall Street investors are getting rich doing things that weaken our economy” over one that “Wall Street investors play an important role in strengthening our economy.”