Additional Research

2010 Voters Trust Republicans More on Fiscal Issues

November 9, 2010

The 2010 mid-term election was a stunning rebuke to the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress. Much of that rebuke was driven by Independents, who supported Republican congressional candidates by the overwhelming margin of 56 to 38 percent. That represents a dramatic 36-point turnaround from the last mid-term election in 2006, when Independents supported Democratic congressional candidates by 57 to 39 percent. In addition, swing voters are now more likely to trust Republicans than Democrats on fiscal and economic issues.

Party Trust

1. 2010 voters, particularly Independents, think that the GOP would do a better job with economic and fiscal issues that are their dominant concerns. Voters trust Republicans to do a better job than Democrats on:

2. 2010 voters, particularly Independents, associate three positive terms with Republicans rather than Democrats. Voters associate "shares your values" with the GOP by a 47 to 40 percent margin (50 to 24 percent among Independents), "on your side" by a 44 to 42 percent margin (44 to 28 percent among Independents), and "new ideas for addressing the country's problems" by a 41 to 40 percent margin (43 to 24 percent among Independents).

3. Voters are evenly divided in the perception of which of the two major parties is" too partisan." Thirty-four percent of voters say the Republican Party is "too partisan," 33 percent say the Democratic Party is too partisan. But Independents see Republicans as "too partisan" by 8 percentage points more than Democrats (33 to 25 percent).

4. Democrats have the advantage among 2010 voters on education, Medicare, and health care, but Independents only trust Democrats more on education. Voters trust Democrats to do a better job on education by a 46 to 34 percent margin (41 to 33 percent among Independents), Medicare by a 43 to 39 percent margin (Independents trust Republicans by a 38 to 32 percent margin), and health care by a 45 to 43 percent margin (Independents trust Republicans by a 48 to 33 percent margin).

Governing in the Future

1. Republicans are more adamant than Democrats that their party should stick to their core principles. By a margin of 64 to 32 percent, Republican voters say that to win in the future "the Republican Party needs to be more supportive of its core principles," rather than "the Republican Party must move more to the center in order to win over Independent voters." Democratic voters say their party should stick to its core principles by 50 to 44 percent.

2. Not surprisingly, Independents believe both parties should move more to the center, especially Democrats. Independents say the Democratic Party "must move more to the center in order to win over Independent voters" by a margin of 63 to 26 percent. Independents say that about the Republican Party by 50 to 40 percent.

3. Independents and Republicans overwhelmingly believe President Obama should work harder to find common ground with Republicans. By a margin of 76 to 19 percent, Independents say "President Obama should work harder and find common ground with Republicans in Congress going forward," rather than "President Obama should work to achieve his agenda for the country if he thinks it is the right thing."Republicans agree by 87 to 10 percent. But Democrats prefer the second statement by 52 to 43 percent.

4. A desire for compromise and working across party lines is one area where Independents think more like Democrats than like Republicans. By a margin of 61 to 32 percent, Independents think "governing is about compromise, and I want my elected officials to work with the other side to find common ground and pass legislation on important issues," as opposed to "leadership is about taking principled stands and I want my elected officials to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means that legislation on important issues does not pass." Democrats agree with the statement supporting governing and compromise by 73 to 21 percent, but Republicans split evenly between the two statements at 46 percent each.

Read the full report: Post-Election Poll Highlights: Independents Propel Republican Victories in 2010

Filed under: Political Climate and Polling Analysis