News / USA

    Polls Reveal Deep Republican Voting Divides

    A stack cards used to help sort voters sits ready during voting in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Columbia, S.C.
    A stack cards used to help sort voters sits ready during voting in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Columbia, S.C.

    The average Donald Trump voter wants a presidential candidate who supports barring Muslims from the United States.The typical Marco Rubio supporter strongly opposes barring Muslims. Republicans across the United States vote in the same primaries and caucuses but surveys reveal their values and life experiences are very different. 

    Exit polling from 13 state caucuses and primaries reveals a remarkably consistent portrait of the type of person who votes for a particular candidate. Their clashing priorities speak to the divided field this campaign season and may provide some insight into how Trump has managed to withstand attacks from the other presidential candidates. 

    "This election cycle is different than any in the past in being able to segment out voters by values, religion, wealth, jobs and any other characteristic," said Rory Cooper, managing director at the bipartisan Purple Strategies. 

    An 'outsider' who 'tells it like it is'

    Donald Trump's voters brought up one value repeatedly and it wasn't prompted by any survey or poll.They said they wanted a candidate who could "tell it like it is." 

    "That's something that's unique to Trump," said Democratic strategist Margie Omero, "that seems to be working for them." 

    Trump voters told pollsters they want an outsider candidate who will speak his mind. Some live in rural areas and lack college degrees, but they all listed immigration issues whether it's barring Muslims from the United States or building a border wall with Mexico as the top issue in this election. They also decided very early on to vote for Trump. 

    "People know everything there is to know about Donald Trump at this point, he's got 100 percent name identification," said Cooper. "If you're a Donald Trump supporter, you are committed." 

    The values and life experiences of a Trump voter are on the other end of the spectrum from Marco Rubio supporters, many of whom decided to vote for the Florida senator at the last minute.They tend to value political experience, have college degrees and support legal status for immigrants in this country. 

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich draw their supporters from completely different fields, with Cruz pulling in evangelical voters looking for a candidate who shares their values while Kasich does well among people who expressly identify themselves as non-evangelicals and list the economy as the most important issue in this election. 

    Divided electorate helps Trump

    Omero said the fractured electorate may have slowed attempts to bring down Trump's candidacy. 

    "People who vote for Trump have a very clear idea of what they like about him while there are more diffused explanations from voters as to why they're voting for Rubio or Cruz and it really underscores what we've seen that it's hard to get the Republican electorate coalesced around the not-Trump candidate," she said. 

    Voters may list widely differing values for their candidate of choice but a dig deeper into their responses shows potential for a shift to another candidate. Like Trump voters, Cruz supporters feel betrayed by the government and are concerned about immigration. Kasich voters value political experience along with Rubio voters and oppose a ban on Muslim immigration. 

    Those shared values may provide a pathway for a one-on-one race after next Tuesday's crucial votes in five states. 

    "If for some reason, it were to get down to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz," said Cooper, "I think that Ted Cruz is going to have a strong opportunity to collect more than 50 percent. I don't think every Rubio or Kasich voter will go to Cruz, but I think most of them will." 

    If Tuesday's results don't narrow the field, voters may see the divides in their values play out over the next few months and all the way to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. 


    Katherine Gypson

    Katherine Gypson is a reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining VOA in 2013, Katherine produced documentary and public affairs programming in Afghanistan, Tunisia and Turkey. She also produced and co-wrote a 12-episode road-trip series for Pakistani television exploring the United States during the 2012 presidential election. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from American University. Follow her @kgyp

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora