Culture Wars/Current Controversies

‘Freedom’ vs. ‘People’: How Republicans and Democrats Define Their Respective Political Parties

By Eli Yokley  Morning Consult
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 Democrats and Republicans defined their parties in policy terms while roughly two-thirds referenced various values.
  • Republicans were most likely to use some iteration of the word “freedom,” while the largest share of Democrats talked about “people.”
  • Republican voters were slightly more likely than Democratic voters to raise negative sentiments when describing their party (11 percent to 7 percent).

Voters often voice strong views on current policy issues, but when asked to define what their parties stand for, values tend to weigh heavier in their responses, according to the latest edition of Morning Consult’s annual State of the Parties survey.

The July 6-10 poll asked voters to describe what the Republican and Democratic parties stand for in their own words. This analysis – based on open-end responses from 1,768 Democratic voters and 1,333 Republican voters – categorized answers in three ways: explicitly political (such as winning elections, beating their rivals or advancing their own interests), explicitly policy-oriented (such as addressing government spending, the climate, health care or abortion) or values statements (such as freedom, equality, religion or ideology).

Among both Democrats and Republicans, fewer than 1 in 5 cited explicit policy concerns, while more than 3 in 5 spoke about larger values that they see their party personifying.

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