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Democrats and Republicans Far Apart on Issues Ahead of Thanksgiving
Douglas Keith Barclay, PRRI Staff,
11.26.2019

Navigating family dynamics at Thanksgiving can be a challenge, especially during an election year. Given America’s deepening polarization, the holiday season may be especially tense this year. PRRI’s 2019 American Values Survey shows that Democrats and Republicans are far apart on what they view as top priorities for the country.

There is little unity across the two major political parties over what these top issues are. In fact, none of the top three issues for Democrats and Republicans overlap. Democrats (77%) believe that health care is the most critical issue, which Americans overall also cite as their top issue (65%). After health care, Democrats rate climate change (72%) and foreign interference in presidential elections (63%) as the next most critical issues.

On the Republican side of the table, the top three issues stray away from climate, health care, and election interference. Republicans list terrorism (63%), immigration (60%), and crime (50%) as their most critical issues.

While they disagree on what issues are the most critical, Democrats and Republicans do agree on not being thrilled if their children married across party lines.

When faced with the prospect of their child marrying someone who identifies with the opposite political party, Democrats are likelier than Republicans to say they would be unhappy. A plurality (45%) of Democrats say they would be unhappy if their child married a Republican, while 35% of Republicans say they would be unhappy if their child married a Democrat. This is a stark difference from 1960 when fewer than one in ten Republicans (4%) or Democrats (4%) said they would be displeased if their son or daughter married someone of the opposite party.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats and Republicans will not have much to agree on when talking about President Donald Trump.

PRRI data shows that nearly nine in ten (88%) Republicans approve of Trump’s performance, including a 53% majority who strongly approve. Democrats express the opposite opinion, with more than nine in ten (92%) disapproving of Trump’s job performance. Notably, Democrats are more likely to strongly disapprove (77%) than Republicans are to strongly approve. More than six in ten (63%) independents disapprove of Trump’s job performance, while just over one-third (36%) approve.

When it comes to personal evaluations of Trump, PRRI data shows that 82% of Republicans report having a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to just 6% of Democrats. Ninety-three percent of Democrats have an unfavorable view of Trump, including 82% who have a very unfavorable view.

Though Trump-related issues divide the parties, Republicans and Democrats agree that Trump should act more like presidents who came before him. Seventy-three percent of Americans say they would like his speech and behavior to fall in line with his predecessors. Sixty-five percent believe that he has damaged the dignity of the presidency.