Despite increasing levels of partisanship in the United States, a sizable group of Americans holds positive views of both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to PRRI’s 2019 American Values Survey. When asked to choose between positive and negative statements about each party, the vast majority (72%) of Americans chose one positive and one negative. However, 15% chose both positive statements. This group said that the Democratic Party is trying to make capitalism work for average Americans (rather than it has been taken over by socialists) and the Republican Party is trying to protect the American way of life against outside threats (rather than it has been taken over by racists). Americans are more likely to hold both positive views than they are to hold both negative views (10%).
Thie group that views both parties positively does not differ from the larger population on most demographics, but they are less educated and more likely to be moderate than all Americans. A majority (54%) have a high school degree or less compared to 39% of the total population. They are also less likely to have graduated from college than Americans overall (24% vs. 33%). A majority (56%) of Americans in this group identify as moderates, next to 43% of the total population.
Views on Trump
Donald Trump’s favorability and job approval as president among the group that views both parties positively does not differ notably from the national views toward Trump. However, this group’s views differ significantly from the total population when looking at levels of intensity.
About four in ten of the group that views both parties positively (41%) and Americans overall (35%) view Trump favorably, while about six in ten are unfavorable (58% vs. 64%). This group is much more likely than all Americans to view Trump mostly favorably (30% vs. 20%) or mostly unfavorably (29% vs. 16%). Additionally, they are much less likely to be very unfavorable to Trump (29% vs. 48%). This trend also appears among Trump’s job approval numbers. The positive group is more likely than the total population to somewhat approve (34% vs. 20%) or somewhat disapprove (30% vs. 16%) of Trump, but much less likely to strongly approve (11% vs. 19%) or strongly disapprove (25% vs. 44%) of the president.
Nearly one-third (34%) of the positive group say Trump could do something to lose their support, compared to 26% of Americans overall. They are also less likely to stringently oppose Trump, with about one in three (35%) saying there’s almost nothing Trump could do to win their approval, compared to almost half (45%) of the total population.
People who view both parties positively are also less likely than Americans to believe that Trump has hurt the country as a whole. They are less likely to say that Trump’s decisions and behaviors as president has encouraged white supremacist groups (49% vs. 57%) or to say that harsh and violent language in politics contributes to violent actions in society (42% vs. 50%). Only one in three (33%) of this group supported impeaching and removing Trump from office in September compared to almost half (47%) of all Americans.
Republicans in this group are much less supportive of Trump than Republicans overall. A majority (54%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who view both parties positively say they would prefer Trump to be the Republican party’s nominee, while 42% say they would prefer someone else. In contrast, 72% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they would prefer Trump be the nominee.
Voting in the 2020 Election
This positive group is also less likely to be registered to vote than Americans overall (67% vs. 82%). A slim majority (51%) of this group say their preference in the 2020 election will depend on who becomes the Democratic nominee, while about one-quarter say they will support the Democratic candidate (26%) or Trump (21%) in the 2020 election. A slim majority (51%) of this group are very likely to vote in the 2020 general election, compared to 69% of Americans.
Opinion of the Democratic Primary Field
Americans who view both the Democratic and Republican parties in a positive light were much more likely than the average American to have not heard of most candidates running in the Democratic primary. This trend includes candidates like Elizabeth Warren (27% vs. 16%), Kamala Harris (38% vs. 24%), and Pete Buttigieg (46% vs. 34%). However, this group is about equally likely to have not heard of Joe Biden (7% vs. 4%) and Bernie Sanders (6% vs. 4%).
Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in this group are less likely to say they will vote in the Democratic primary than overall. Just over four in ten of this group (41%) are absolutely certain to vote in this primary compared to a majority (56%) of all Democrats and leaners. Just over one in five say they probably will vote in the primary (21%) or that their chances of voting are 50-50 (22%). Less than one in five (16%) say their chances of voting are less than 50-50.