GOP Primary Voters Want Candidates to Embrace Cultural Issues, Poll Finds
A new poll reveals that the overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters want future GOP presidential contenders to embrace hot button issues like gender transition procedures for minors and implementing restrictions on pornography.
The survey, conducted by OnMessage Inc., found that 93% of respondents want candidates to confront parents rights issues, including increased transparency with school curriculums and school activities. A full 76% also want candidates to ban gender transitions procedures for minors, such as surgeries to remove healthy organs, puberty-blocking drugs, and cross-sex hormones.
The poll also found 86% of respondents saying they are more likely to support a candidate that advocated for requiring age verification in order to access pornographic websites.
In response to issues that are considered less contentious, voters showed less enthusiasm, with 59% saying they want a candidate who will push for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and 50% saying they want an emphasis on supporting Ukraine through military aid.
“The fight against the woke issues … that’s where the intensity really was,” said Jon Schweppe, director of Policy and Government Affairs for the American Principles Project, during “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” last week. “Ultimately, voters are looking for someone who’s going to defend the family, who’s going to fight the woke Left, who’s going to fight to stop these horrific sex change procedures that are being performed on kids. … I think a Republican candidate who emerges from this presidential primary is going to have to be strong on all those issues.”
Perkins pointed to a particularly notable result in the survey indicating less than expected support for protecting women’s sports from men who identify as transgender women. “Sixty-nine percent [who support prohibiting males from competing in girls sports], that’s still a good number. But what was surprising was that it’s even stronger when it comes to these sex change medical procedures. People understand what’s going on and what really matters.”
Schweppe, whose organization released the results of the poll, concurred.
“When you’re talking about puberty blockers as young as seven, eight years old, that’s where voters are really animated,” he observed. “They see it as an issue of life and death because it is. Women’s sports is important and we want to protect these opportunities for girls, but I think it’s a little bit lower stakes. [Gender transition procedures] are a horrific thing that’s being perpetrated on these kids. And it really, really animates Republican voters. And what we’ve found is that in our polling of the general electorate, it’s actually really important to independents and even some Democrats too. It’s a great issue for Republicans to lead on and hopefully do the right thing as we try to stop this from happening across the country.”
The survey’s results appear to rebuke the strategy taken by some Republican candidates and strategists ahead of 2022’s midterm elections, which was to steer clear of divisive social issues. That strategy did not appear to pan out in the midterm results.
The poll also found that GOP primary voters prefer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over former President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup, with DeSantis garnering 53% and Trump receiving 38%.
Schweppe asserted that the growing rivalry between the two men will benefit conservative voters in the end.
“The encouraging thing, especially for social conservatives, is that as Trump and DeSantis fight each other, they’re going to continue to try to outflank each other on all of these issues. [Even with] the Big Tech issue today, they’re kind of outflanking each other with that, trying to do a digital Bill of Rights to make sure censorship doesn’t happen online.”
“I think folks should be excited about the primary. Let’s make sure that we get a strong candidate that can finally take Joe Biden out of office and make sure we can save this country,” Schweppe concluded.
Matt Carpenter, director of Family Research Council Action, was also encouraged by the message voters appear to be sending to presidential candidates through the latest poll results.
“GOP primary voters want to hear their presidential candidates address cultural issues,” he told The Washington Stand. “Many of these voters are motivated by what their children are exposed to in the classroom, or the obsession of the current administration to fund abortion through all stages of pregnancy. They want their nominee to provide a clear contrast to the radical anti-family, anti-faith, anti-life agenda of the current administration.”
“Americans, in general, have opted to vote with their feet and their wallets, by leaving liberal states in favor of more conservative ones and by cancelling subscriptions or deciding to shop elsewhere in order to avoid woke corporations,” Carpenter concluded. “It follows that the GOP would see a similar pattern emerge among their likely primary voters in the upcoming presidential primary.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.