Polls show that Republican views of the US have become more pessimistic and less pluralistic.


Ahead of the next presidential election, analysis of CNN polls shows that Republicans have returned to the deeply negative national views they held prior to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory. and cultural changes in American society.

In the poll held at the end of summer 2016.Since Trump’s nomination, roughly half of Republicans and Republican supporters (49%) said America’s best days are behind us. And while a majority said they find the nation’s growing diversity enriching, 37% said they believe the increase in the number of people of a wide variety of races, ethnicities, and nationalities in the U.S. instead threatens American culture.

Three years later, during the Trump presidency, only 18% of the party said the nation’s peak days are over, and the same 20% see diversity as a cultural threat.

Since then, the Republican Party has reversed course, becoming less pluralistic and even more pessimistic. IN latest CNN pollpublished this week, the proportion of adult Republican supporters who said the country’s best days are behind them soared to 70%, while those who believe America’s culture is threatened by growing racial and ethnic diversity jumped to 38%. In a question not asked in 2019, 78% of most Republican Americans also say society’s values ​​of sexual orientation and gender identity are changing for the worse.

The change in the party’s point of view over the past four years has been along demographic lines. Between 2019 and 2023, belief that the country’s best days are behind us increased by more than 40 percentage points across age, education and gender. In addition, the share that considers diversity a threat increased by double digits in each group. This may indicate that results sometimes reflect less deeply rooted beliefs than reactions to the current political environment, including which party is president.

But the poll also shows that Republicans and Republican supporters are far from completely unanimous in their views, as opinions are divided by a range of interrelated political, demographic and socioeconomic factors.

One of the most persistent gaps is in education: Republican-leaning college graduates are less likely than those without graduate degrees to advocate for a more active government, say the country’s best days are over, or see the country’s increased diversity as a threat. , although both groups share similarly negative views on value change in relation to gender and sexuality.

Age also plays a role, as does gender and race: people under 45 are less likely than older people to call racial diversity a threat or say that gender identity and sexual orientation values ​​are declining by a similar gap. between women and men of the Republican Party, and between whites and people of color who support the party.

Differences within the Republican Party are often magnified when demographics overlap. Approximately half (51%) of Republican supporters aged 45 and older who do not have a college degree say they see the nation’s growing diversity as a threat. And in the Republican Party, 54% of evangelical white men see such diversity as a threat, a view not shared by most of their female counterparts or most of other combinations of racial and religious backgrounds.

Republican concerns about how the US is changing ties to opinions about Trump’s legacy. In the latest poll, 57% of adult Republican supporters who cite racial diversity as a threat also say it’s important that the next GOP candidate restore the Trump administration’s policies. So do almost half of those who believe that values ​​about gender and sexuality are changing for the worse (49%), or who believe that the best days of the nation are already over (46%) – in each case, this figure is significantly higher. than among those who do not share these views. Meanwhile, belief that Trump has been a good influence on the Republican Party is 14 percentage points higher among those who say the US has reached its peak than among those who say its best days are yet to come.

What is less clear is whether these views will lead to support for Trump and his campaign, especially from perceived rivals such as the Florida governor. Ron DeSantis also builds posts on similar topics. At this early stage in the campaign, Republicans and Republican independents who say the U.S.’s best days are over are as likely to say they’d be thrilled by the possibility of DeSantis’ nomination as they are to say the same about Trump. Relatively few currently express similar excitement about former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

It’s also too early to tell what the GOP primary electorate will look like next year. That’s a key factor, given the likely demographic differences in both who Republicans support and how likely they are to vote at all. Elderly and more educated voters are more likely to turn out to vote. Exit polls show that older and more educated voters have tended to be disproportionately large in past cycles. It’s a long way from the start of voting, and it’s hard to say who is likely to show up, but both demographic and political preference could play a role in determining the initial level of enthusiasm ahead of election season. In the latest CNN poll, Republicans and Republican supporters over 45 who supported Trump were much more likely to report extreme enthusiasm for running in next year’s primary than those over 45 with a different candidate preference, or younger Republicans and Republican supporters, regardless of the candidate they support.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from March 8 to 12 among a random national sample of 1,045 self-identified Republicans and Republican supporters selected from a probability panel. The surveys were conducted either online or by phone with a live interviewer. The results among the full sample have a sample error of plus or minus 3.8 points, for subgroups it is larger.

This story has been updated with additional information.