Political Party Policy Stances
Using a combination of polling results, political party stances, and Congressional votes, we have been able to identify the general political preferences of American conservatives and liberals. The table below outlines the stances of political parties of Democrats and Republicans on current political issues. These political party stances are based off of the opinions and beliefs of the majority of each party. Click here to learn how the bias meter works.
|Black Lives Matters Politicization||Against||For|
|Campaign Finance Restrictions||For||For|
|Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate||Against||For|
|Criminal Justice Reform||For||For|
|Critical Race Theory||Against||For|
|Drug Price Regulation||Against||For|
|Embryonic Stem-Cell Research||Against||For|
|Equal Rights Amendment||For||For|
|Flat Tax Rate||For||Against|
|Free College Education||Against||For|
|Guns in Classrooms||For||Against|
|Health Care Spending||Against||For|
|Income Inequality Laws||Against||For|
|Iran Nuclear Deal||Against||For|
|Jewish Nation State and Sovereignty||For||Against|
|Marijuana Legalization for Medical Use||For||For|
|Marijuana Legalization for Recreational Use||Against||For|
|North Korea Sanctions||For||For|
|Public Education Spending||Against||For|
|Scientific Research Spending||Against||For|
|Social Security Privatization||For||Against|
|Social Security Spending||Against||For|
|Student Debt Cancellation||Against||For|
|The Green New Deal||Against||For|
|Universal Basic Income||Against||For|
|War on Drugs||For||Against|
|War on Terror||For||Against|
|War on Terror Spending||For||Against|
|World Health Organization||Against||For|
Republicans and Democrats are split on the issue of abortion. Democrats, per their official platform, are committed to ensuring access to safe and legal abortion care, while Republicans (as per their platform) are committed to protecting fetal life. These positions are consistent with the opinions of voters; according to a Pew poll, 82% of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 62% of Republicans believe it should be illegal in all or most cases. Furthermore, nearly half (48%) of Republican voters and leaders would support overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that established a legal right to abortion access.
In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, in which it overturned Roe vs Wade and held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion. Following this, in September 2022, President Joe Biden promised to codify Roe and make it the law of the land.
Affirmative action programs, which enable colleges and universities to consider ethnicity and race as a factor for admissions, are considerably popular among the American public according to a 2017 Pew report, with 71% of Americans expressing support. Among Democrats, 84% of voters are supportive of affirmative action. Republicans are more split, with approximately half supporting and half opposing affirmative action programs. Neither of the 2016 party platforms take an explicit stance on the topic.
Democratic voters are far more likely to be in support of anti-discrimination laws against LGBT individuals. A Gallup poll reports that 74% of Democrats are supportive of anti-discrimination legislation, compared to only 27% of Republicans. Likewise, the most recent Democratic platform expresses commitment to enacting protections for LGBT rights, while the Republican platform does not.
Doctor-assisted suicide is not a major talking point within the Democratic Party, although it has been denounced by Republicans, in the party’s platform. Polling does not reflect a major polarity in public opinion on the topic, although a slight majority (53%) of Democratic voters approve of assisted suicide. This compares to 37% of Republicans.
Physician-assisted suicide is available to individuals by law in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. It is available to individuals in Montana and California through court decisions. It is notable that all the states were governed by a Democrat when the law/court decision was passed.
Polling from September 2021 conducted by Pew Research Center indicated that 85% of Democrats express some support for the Black Lives Matter movement and protests, with 48% strongly supporting it. 78% of Republicans and those leaning to the GOP oppose the movement, with 58% strongly opposing it. This is supported by another survey, conducted in November 2021 by Civiqs, which found that 85% of Democrats support the Black Lives Matter movement, compared to 3% of Republicans.
Wikipedia defines Antifa as a “left-wing anti-fascist and anti-racist political movement”. In 2020, President Biden condemned Antifa. In the summer of 2019, a resolution calling for Antifa to be labeled as a domestic terror organization was introduced by Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy. President Trump voiced his support on Twitter. In 2020, Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found that 72% of Republicans support designating the “Antifa" movement as a terrorist organization compared to 32% of Democrats.
Polling indicates that illegal immigration is regarded to be a much bigger issue among Republican voters than Democratic voters; 75% of Republican voters perceive illegal immigration to be a major issue, compared to just 19% of Democratic voters. Accordingly, the Republican party platform emphasizes the perceived need to curb illegal immigration, while the Democratic platform is focused more on providing pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and streamlining the process of visa applications.
Further, approximately 79% of Republicans support the deportation of undocumented immigrants while 39% of Democrats support the same. This shows differences in levels of enactment of border control.
Democrats tend to regard refugee migration more positively than Republicans. The Republican Party platform assumes the position that refugee intake is a potential national security threat and thus that increased screenings on refugee applicants is a necessity. The Democratic platform, meanwhile, speaks more generously about refugees, but still acknowledges a need for some form of screening. The difference between the parties’ perceptions of refugee migration is best reflected by polling. A Pew poll shows that 74% of Democrats believe the US has a responsibility to take in refugees, compared to only 26% of Republicans.
The construction of a border wall is a highly partisan issue. The Republican platform explicitly endorses the construction of a wall along the Southern border, while the Democratic platform expresses harsh opposition to the concept. Polling reflects a similar partisan divide; 82% of Republican voters favor the construction of a Southern border wall, while 93% of Democratic voters are opposed.
In December 2018, House Republicans approved a bill to fund President Trump’s border wall. It passed 217-185, with eight Republicans voting against the government funding package that included $5.7 billion to construct a border wall. The bill received no Democratic support.
Campaign finance and the first amendment have long been intertwined since the decision in Citizens United v. FCE, leading to requirements of disclosure of funds for candidates running for political office. However, the main issue as it pertains to election spending is how much a candidate should be able to spend on his/her campaign. Democrats are more likely to support limits on campaign spending than Republicans, and there is a similar gap in views on whether effective laws could be written. On the other side of the aisle, 71% of Republicans say there should be limits on campaign spending and 54% say new laws that would be effective in limiting the influence of money in politics could help remedy issues that are visible in American politics. Among Democrats, even larger majorities favor spending limits (85%) and think new laws would be effective (77%). Despite both parties' desire to limit campaign spending, no bill after 1991 has been presented to Congress in an attempt to limit spending on campaigns. Some politicians, like Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Elisabeth Warren, have sponsored Senate Bill 2232, which “revises the composition of the Federal Election Commission by reducing the number of members from six to five with no more than two members allowed to be affiliated with the same party.” So, while both Republicans and Democrats are in favor of placing restrictions on campaign spending, this sentiment does not seem to be shared by the parties in government.
Both the Democratic and Republican party platforms express support for charter schools, although the Democratic does express some weariness about paying for for-profit charter schools, and advocates for increased oversight on charter schools to ensure that they are neither destabilizing public schools nor excluding students of color. Among voters, support for charter schools appears to be higher among Republicans; 61% of Republicans support the formation of charter schools, compared to just 40% of Democrats.
China’s global investments have increased tremendously and in recent years, it has overtaken the United States as the largest trading partner in many countries. China is aggressively challenging America’s dominant influence across the globe. President, Joe Biden has said, “American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States. We’ll confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.” Findings from the 2022 Chicago Council Survey show American views of China at record lows. Negative feelings toward China are uniform, with Democrats (36), Independents (34), and Republicans (25) on a 0-100 scale.
A minority of Democrats (44%) and majority of Republicans (59%) now support keeping existing tariffs on China.
Since America's infancy, the topic of racial disparity has long plagued political conversation. While race relations have gotten better with time, Democrats and Republicans have come to a crossroads: Have Race Relations reached an apex, or are there still problems left to remedy? Pew Research Center’s RACE IN AMERICA 2019 found that Democrats tend to have a more negative view of the current state of race relations than Republicans. About two-thirds of Democrats (67%) say race relations are bad, while Republicans are more evenly divided (46% say race relations are bad and 52% say they are good). So, both Democrats and Republicans believe that there are still problems left to remedy with respect to Civil Rights.
Polling from Monmouth University found that 43% of Republicans opposed the teaching of critical race theory in public schools compared with 5% of Democrats. Majorities of Republicans (54%) and Democrats (94%) were in favor of teaching about historical racism.
Polling indicates support for clean energy among both Democratic and Republican voters. 87% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans have expressed support for clean energy innovation, and 83% of Democrats and 54% of Republican voters would support a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. However, the support for clean energy present among Republican voters is not as popular among Republican leadership. The Trump Administration, for instance, has expressed adamant opposition to clean energy solutions such as wind and solar power initiatives and has maintained a commitment to supporting the coal and oil industries. Furthermore, while clean energy is not mentioned once in the Republican Party platform, the Democratic platform expresses enthusiastic support for clean energy solutions and articulates a goal to transition the economy to be clean energy-based.
Belief in climate science is remarkably higher among Democrats than Republicans. The Republican Party platform explicitly rejects the findings of intergovernmental climate researchers such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and accordingly disavows agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. In comparison, the Democratic platform expressed support for climate policies recommended by climate scientists and commits to international environmental standards such as those outlined in the Paris Agreement. A Pew poll indicates that belief in climate science is prevalent among Democratic voters; 90% report that they believe the government should take action to address the threats of climate change. Meanwhile, Republican voters are less consistent in their beliefs. 65% of liberal Republicans agree that climate change is a threat, compared to just 24% of conservative Republicans.
Republican lawmakers who voted for the Clinton impeachment argued that even though it only concerned his private life, a President who commits perjury and obstructs justice is subverting the rule of law, and that subversion becomes a "high crime." On perjury, 45 Republican senators voted to convict while 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted for acquittal. On obstruction of justice, 50 Republicans voted for conviction while 45 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted for acquittal.
Like they tend to be with other non-renewable energy sources, Republicans also demonstrate support for the coal industry. The Republican platform identifies coal as one of the ‘marketable’ sources of energy that the party supports the production and use of. Comparatively, the Democratic platform places priority on the production of renewable energy. Likewise, polling indicates that Republicans are far more supportive of coal mining, with 66% of conservative Republicans reporting support for the coal industry. This compares to just 9% of liberal democrats that would like to see the coal industry expand.
While a stance on Common Core education standards is not made clear in the Democratic Party platform, the Republican platform explicitly congratulates efforts to repeal the ‘one-size-fits-all’ standards. While Democrats have traditionally been more supportive of the Common Core, polling suggests that voters among both parties are beginning to view its standards negatively; 48% of Democrats support Common Core, compared to only 35% of Republicans. President Obama and his administration were strong advocates of the Common Core standards, even though there has been some division within the party.
Polling indicates that both Republicans and Democrats hold positive views of competitive capitalism; 78% of Republicans viewed capitalism positively, as did 55% of Democrats. However, it can also be noted that Democrats expressed similar support for elements of socialism, with 65% viewing it positively. However, since 2020 the Democratic party platform has supported socialistic policies that diminish competitive capitalism such as polices mentioned in their Ending Poverty, Raising Wages and Promoting Workers’ Rights, Universal Healthcare, and Free-College Education sections.
The second amendment has long been a controversial topic, especially when discussing the idea of concealed carry. Concealed carry refers to the practice of carrying a concealed weapon on one’s person in public, and attitudes towards this practice are extremely polarized between Republicans and Democrats. An overwhelming majority of Republican gun owners (87%) say they favor allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places, while only a fraction of Democrats (16%) support the carrying of concealed guns in more places. This belief in concealed carry expansion does not seem uniform throughout the political parties. House Bill H.R. 38 would establish a federal statutory framework to regulate the carry or possession of concealed firearms across state lines, specifically for individuals attempting to cross state lines with a firearm. Many Republican representatives have strongly favored the bill, like Representatives McHenry (R-NC), Young (R-AK), and Hudson (R-NC). It passed by a 231–198 vote. Barring 6 Democratic representatives who crossed over the aisle to vote in favor, the rest of the Democrats were opposed to the bill. On the Republican side, all but 14 Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has been a point of contention with respect to the government's handling of the situation. At the center of this dispute is whether or not vaccines and mandates are effective, and whether or not they can be imposed by the government enforcement power. Partisan affiliation remains one of the widest differences in vaccination status: 86% of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 60% of Republicans and Republican leaners. Despite this schism between political parties, 73% of Americans say the statement “vaccines are the best way to protect Americans from COVID-19” accurately describes their beliefs. A KFF survey in July 2021 found a partisan divide on whether the federal government should recommend employers mandate vaccines among employees. 75% of Democrats were in favor, while 67% of Republicans were opposed.
As Covid-19 has become a political issue, it comes as no surprise that the Representatives of the Democrat and Republican parties share the same views as their supporters when it comes to the vaccine. On the Democratic side, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that “Right now, I think the most important thing to do is to protect Americans. We do that by getting them vaccinated and getting them boosted.” On the Republican side of the aisle, they do not oppose or support the vaccine, rather they encourage people to use their agency to decide what to do, as evidenced by Donald Trump's saying “Do you want to get a vaccine or do you not? Do you want to be left alone or not?”
Generally, criminal justice reform polls well among both Democratic and Republican voters. 87% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans would like to see the US prison population reduced. However, despite general support for criminal justice reform among voters of both parties, the Republican party leadership has been more hesitant to embrace it. The 2016 party platform reiterated support for measures such as mandatory minimums and capital punishment, practices that are often critiqued by proponents for criminal justice reform. This contrasts with the Democratic platform, which expressly commits to criminal justice reform.
Critical race theory (CRT) is a movement based on the premise that race is a social construct that is used to oppress and exploit people of color.
A Monmouth University poll found that 78% of Republicans disapproved of the teaching of critical race theory in public schools compared with 15% of Democrats. 16% of Republicans approved of the teaching of critical race theory compared with 75% of Democrats who were in favor of the practice.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is a policy that grants deferred action on deportation to immigrants that were brought to the United States unlawfully as children. The Republican Party platform does not take a specific position on DACA, although votes on a 2019 bill to extend a pathway to citizenship to such immigrants was split along partisan lines, with only 7 Republican representatives voting in favor. Meanwhile, the 2016 Democratic platform committed to protecting DACA from being overturned. Unlike other immigration issues, DACA does not provoke a harsh partisan divide among voters. Polling indicates that while a strong majority of 92% of Democratic voters support DACA, so do 50% of Republican voters.
In August 2022, President Biden signed into effect the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a new law containing provisions related to prescription drug costs. KFF Health Tracking Poll (September 15-26, 2022 found 84% of Democrats more likely to vote for a candidate supporting placing a limit on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for people with Medicare compared with 48% of Republicans. 83% of Democrats were more likely to vote for a candidate supporting capping monthly out-of-pocket costs for insulin for people with Medicare compared with 47% of Republicans. 79% of Democrats were more likely to vote for a candidate supporting authorizing the federal government to negotiate the price of some prescription drugs for people with Medicare compared with 38% of Republicans.
Traditionally, both Democrats and Republicans have favored abolishing the Electoral College. However, support among Republicans steadily diminished following the 2016 election. The most recent polling results indicate that while 75% of Democratic voters expressed support for eliminating the Electoral College and electing presidents according to popular vote, only 32% of Republican voters say the same. The most recent Republican Party platform aligns with these polling results; it explicitly condemns calls to “abolish or distort” the Electoral College.
The Republican Party has traditionally been opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells in research. The past two Republican presidents (George W Bush and Donald Trump) have enacted bans on federally funded embryonic stem cell research; President Bush’s ban was overturned by President Obama. The 2016 Republican Party platform reiterated the party’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research. While the Democratic platform does not articulate an official stance, polling indicates that Democratic voters are supportive of stem cell research; 60% of Democrats prioritize research over the protection of embryonic life versus 37% of Republicans (note: this poll is slightly dated, it is possible that these numbers have shifted).
Neither the Democratic nor the Republican party platforms mention the topic of eminent domain. Polling, however, suggests that both Democrats and Republicans oppose the use of eminent domain; 80% of Americans, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, were opposed to the ruling of Supreme Court case Kelo v City of New London, which ruled that cities could exercise eminent domain to seize property in the interest of “economic development”.
Unlike nearly all other political issues, both sides of the aisle- Republicans and Democrats- have made it clear that they want equal rights for both men and women. Nearly all Republicans and Democrats agree that equal rights for men and women are paramount, and should be resolved soon. A large majority, including 62% of non-feminist Republicans and even more Democrats, favor adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution so as to secure these rights for women. The Equal Rights Amendment is one that simply states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Although an overwhelming majority of Americans support the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment, “about eight-in-ten U.S. adults (78%)”, it still has its enemies. Interest in the inclusion of the Equal Rights Amendment was recently sparked once more, with the House’s almost unanimous passage of H.J Res. 17, which extends the time for the Equal Right Amendment’s ratification indefinitely. So, support for the Equal Rights Amendment, and equal rights for both men and women, is strongly supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Environmental regulations are more popular among Democrats than Republicans. Polling shows that while 65% of Democratic voters believe in the necessity of governmental environmental regulations, only 39% of Republican voters report the same. When asked specifically about the Trump Administration, which is notoriously opposed to environmental regulations, 65% of Republicans reported that they agree with the administration’s environmental policies, while only 8% of Democrats said the same. Accordingly, the Democratic Party platform commits to restoring the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to instate environmental regulations including clean air and water standards and public lands protections. Meanwhile, the Republican platform condemns the EPA for being an overreach of federal power.
As the United States is not a part of the European Union (EU), neither party has established an official stance on EU power or Brexit. However, separately from any official party stances, individual politicians have made statements on the European Union, with Democratic politicians usually speaking in favor of the institution and Republicans against. President Trump, for instance, has tweeted his support for Brexit on several occasions, while the position of former President Obama was anti-Brexit.
Polling indicates that flat-rate taxation is a popular concept among Republicans; 59% of Republicans would support a flat-rate tax versus just 25% of Democrats.
Proposals for tuition-free college are more popular among Democrats than Republicans. The Democratic Party platform advocates for making community college free, and all other forms of higher education debt-free. Meanwhile, the Republican platform actually advocates for a shift away from government regulation of student debt towards a more free-market system. Polling indicates that 82% of Democrats would support making college and university tuition-free, compared to 33% of Republicans.
Government dependency appears to be a considerable concern for Republican voters. Polling indicates that 68% of Republicans view entitlements negatively, believing that they create dependency, while 71% of Democratic voters believe the opposite. Additionally, the Republican platform expresses concern regarding government dependency several times.
Democrats are more open to government interference than Republicans are. While the Republican Party platform explicitly condemns ‘big government’, the Democratic platform calls on the federal government to promote equality where it sees the free market failing to do so. Polling indicates that 69% of Democratic voters are inclined to support a bigger government with more services, while 77% of Republican voters would prefer to have a smaller government with fewer services.
Democrats are generally more supportive of government regulations, while Republicans are generally more opposed. The Democratic platform calls for increased regulations in several spheres, including environmental and labor policy. Meanwhile, the Republican platform frequently condemns federal regulations and even goes as far as to call regulation “quiet tyranny”. Polling data indicates that Democrats often report higher support for regulatory agencies than Republicans do; 59% of Democrats view the IRS favorably versus 49% of Republicans, 77% of Democrats view the FBI favorably versus 66% of Republicans, and 61% of Democrats view the EPA favorably versus 55% of Republicans.
Democrats and Republicans are divided on the issue of federal spending. In a Pew poll, 74% of Republicans reported that they would prefer decreased federal spending, and in turn, decreased federal services, while 67% of Democrats reported the opposite. Voters were especially split on the topics of healthcare, education, and welfare, with Democrats reporting support for increased spending in those arenas.
Government spending is a complex topic, and there is much debate as to how the funds should be distributed. Republicans and Democrats often feud over whether the Government should be spending as much money as it does to fund certain organizations or projects. A Pew Research Center survey from 2019 on how Republicans and Democrats view government spending found that on:
Social Security: 38% of Republicans are for increasing social security spending, 11% for lowering, and 49% for keeping spending the same compared with 57% of Democrats for increasing social security, 6% for lowering, and 33% for keeping spending the same.
Infrastructure: 57% of Republicans are for increasing infrastructure spending, 9% for lowering, and 31% for keeping spending the same compared with 64% of Democrats for increasing infrastructure spending, 7% for lowering, and 27% for keeping spending the same.
Economic Aid: 27% of Republicans are for increasing economic aid spending, 29% for lowering, and 40% for keeping spending the same compared with 62% of Democrats for increasing economic aid spending, 9% for lowering, and 27% for keeping spending the same.
As for how Republican and Democratic politicians feel about the increase in government spending, the Senate voted 68-31 in March 2022 to pass a $1.5 trillion omnibus bill that will fund federal government agencies for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2022. The majority of support came from the Democratic side of the aisle due to increased funding for Democratic priorities. So, the feelings of increased and or decreased political spending by the electorate are mirrored by the party in government.
From 2020-2022, Democrats have enacted major spending programs that include the largest public infrastructure bill in history, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act that pertains to climate change, health care, and tax reform. Authorized new spending for these programs is set to exceed $3 trillion.
In December 2022, Congress passed a humongous $1.7 trillion omnibus package to fund the government through September 2023. It passed in the Senate by a 68-29 vote and in the House, with a 225-201-1 vote. The voting in the House was along party lines (Democrats in favor, and Republicans opposed) with 9 Republicans crossing over to vote for the measure alongside Democrats, and 1 Democratic member voting present.
The Covid-19 Pandemic ravaged the world in late 2019 and early 2020, killing 6.3 million people worldwide, in which 1.01 million were from the United States. Seeing the disastrous effect that the pandemic would have on not only the people but the economy, the government began to issue stimulus checks in an attempt to help people afford essential items whilst the country was shut down and jobs were being lost at a record pace. During the height of the Covid-pandemic, nearly two-thirds of Republicans (65%) said an additional package would be necessary, compared with about nine-in-ten (92%) Democrats. The politicians of the Republican and Democratic parties did not adhere to the beliefs of the party in the electorate and rather took an entirely different stance. While the Democrats rallied for another stimulus release, nearly all Republicans refused to vote for the stimulus. This is best shown by way of H.R. 1319, a bill to grant stimulus relief to qualifying Americans- wherein 100% of Democrats voted for another stimulus, and 100% of Republicans voted against another stimulus. Due to the Democrat’s control of the Senate, the stimulus was passed.
The Green New Deal, a proposal originally championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, includes a plan to sweepingly modernize and adjust US infrastructure to meet environmental standards. If passed, the bill would funnel billions of dollars into updating infrastructure; $34.85 billion would be allocated towards water infrastructure projects, $150 billion towards broadband infrastructure, and $75 billion for transportation infrastructure. Polling shows that the Green New Deal is overwhelmingly popular among Democratic voters (87% support) while just a minority (28%) of Republicans support it.
Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Green New Deal could cost upwards of $50-$90 million.
The arming of school officials has been floated as a potential solution to school shootings by several prominent Republicans, including President Trump. Among voters, Democrats are typically opposed to the prospect of increased firearm presence in schools, while Republicans are generally more supportive; 86% of Democrats believe arming teachers is a bad idea, while 68% of Republicans would support it. Neither of the 2016 party platforms include an official stance on this topic.
Gun control, a broad category of policies that aim to reduce access to gun ownership, is typically advocated for by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The 2016 Democratic Party Platform outlined the party’s commitment to reducing gun violence by implementing universal background checks, closing loopholes in firearm sales regulations, and restricting access to assault weapons. Meanwhile, the Republican Party Platform expresses firm commitment to the Second Amendment and opposition to any measures that would infringe on access to firearms. Party platforms appear to be consistent with public opinion; 86% of Democratic-leaning voters support stricter gun legislation, while only 31% of Republican-leaning voters do.
An increase in gun violence over the years, and a spate of mass shootings including the 2022 killing of 19 elementary school children in Uvalde, Texas resulted in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. It passed in the Senate 65 to 33 with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in favor of the measure. In the House, it passed 234-193, with 14 Republicans voting alongside Democrats. President Biden signed it into effect in June 2022. It is considered the most significant federal legislation aimed at gun violence since 1994.
In a poll conducted by Politico, about half of the electorate said limiting gun ownership is more important than protecting the right to own guns. Within this sample, 69% of Republicans favored the right to own guns, compared to 17% of Democrats. Additionally, 40% of Democrats said they would support a repeal of the second amendment, compared to just 11% of Republicans.
Republicans and Democrats have different priorities on health care spending but agree on the need to reduce costs for individuals, families, government, and employers. Republicans favor reducing costs and limiting the role of government while Democrats place improving health outcomes for all, and reducing costs at the top of their docket. A survey conducted in Jan 2019 by Pew Research Center found 77% of Democrats and Democratic leaners saying that health care costs should be a top priority for the country compared with 59% of Republicans and Republican leaners. A Pew Research Center survey from 2019 on how Republicans and Democrats view government healthcare spending found 27% of Republicans are for increasing healthcare spending, 33% for lowering, and 36% for keeping spending the same compared with 73% of Democrats for increasing healthcare spending, 5% for lowering, and 19% for keeping spending the same. A KFF Health Tracking Poll conducted in 2022 found 71% of Democrats were more likely to vote for a candidate supporting extending financial subsidies for people who purchase health coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace compared with 17% of Republicans. Additionally, 68% of Democrats support the government increasing Medicare spending while only 38% of Republicans do.
Neither of the 2016 party platforms speak specifically about ICE. However, as the actions of the agency have become a recent topic of discussion, Democratic candidates and officeholders have begun to advocate for increased oversight on ICE, with some even advocating for its abolition. Polling reflects a harsh partisan divide over ICE; 77% of conservative Republicans view ICE in a positive light, compared to 82% of liberal Democrats that view the agency unfavorably.
The raising of wages has been a hotly debated topic since the Covid-19 epidemic, specifically the issue of whether or not the federally mandated minimum wage should be increased to $15. On this issue of raising the minimum wage, there is a stark contrast between the beliefs of Democrats and Democratic learners, and Republican and Republican learners. While 87% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they favor increasing the wage to $15 an hour (including 61% who strongly favor it), 72% of Republicans and GOP leaners oppose the idea (including 45% who strongly oppose it). This firm stance by both political parties can be observed within the legislative branch, wherein on Senate Bill 2223, a bill to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage, 100% of Democrats voted for the raising of the minimum wage to $15 while 100% of Republicans voted against the raising of the minimum wage. In both the electorate and the party in government the stringent adherence to their parties’ stance on raising the minimum wage is uniform.
Infrastructure appears to be slightly more of a priority for Democrats than for Republicans. While the Democratic platform places a decent amount of emphasis on the need for increased federal investment in infrastructure projects, the word ‘infrastructure’ is only mentioned in the Republican platform three times. Among voters, infrastructure appears to be an issue of high importance for voters of both parties, although marginally more so for Democrats. Polling reflects that 71% of Democrats report that investing in infrastructure ought to be a priority, compared to 61% of Republicans.
According to spending polling, 57% of Republicans are for increasing infrastructure spending, 9% for lowering, and 31% for keeping spending the same compared with 64% of Democrats for increasing infrastructure spending, 7% for lowering, and 27% for keeping spending the same.
Republicans have traditionally been viewed as pro free trade while Democrats were seen as being averse to free trade.
In 2017, President Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In 2020, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed 385-41 in the House, with 193 Democrats and 192 Republicans voting yes. 64.1% of Democrats say trade creates more U.S. jobs compared with 54.2% of Republicans. 22.7% of Democrats say that trade takes away jobs compared with 31.7% of Republicans.
Presidents are primarily vested with rights and privileges aimed at aiding advances toward alliances with other countries. Therefore, foreign policy is one of the most important aspects of the job of the President. However, some speculate as to whether or not a President is performing his role to the best of his ability. As it pertains to President Biden’s role as the facilitator of foreign relations, nearly nine-in-ten Democrats (88%) express confidence in Biden’s ability to handle foreign affairs, compared with only 27% of Republicans. The sentiments expressed by each side of the aisle are shared within their corresponding party leadership in government. As for Republican politicians, Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated that “Biden's foreign policy has been a catastrophe for the national security of the United States and the safety and prosperity of Americans.” On the other hand, Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi believes that Biden’s foreign policy “will revitalize our foreign policy leadership: refreshing our alliances, re-energizing our commitment to our values and interests, rebuilding our institutions and reevaluating and strengthening the tools in our diplomatic arsenal.”
A partisan divide is seen in support for an active U.S. global role. A survey by Pew Research Center in 2017 found a majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (56%) say it’s best for the future of the country to be active in world affairs compared with 39% of Republicans and Republican leaners who say it’s best for the country to be active in world affairs.
When it comes to dealing with U.S. allies in global affairs, a majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (74%) say that the U.S. should take allies’ interests into account while making foreign policy decisions compared with 41% of Republicans.
According to a 2022 Chicago Council Survey, 73 percent of Democrats would support returning to the deal compared to 53 percent of Republicans who would stay out of the deal.
Since the Iranian takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979, the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran have had no formal diplomatic relations. America has viewed Iran’s ambitions to lead the Islamic world, support for terrorists, and pursuit of nuclear weapons with deep suspicion, and hostility. Several rounds of sanctions have been imposed on Iran over the years. Pew Research Center survey (2015) found Republicans far more likely than Democrats to view Iran’s nuclear program as a major threat (79% vs. 52%). In 2015, Iran signed a deal with the US (and 5 other countries) to limit its nuclear activities and allow international inspections in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. In 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, and reinstated economic sanctions against Iran. After the 2020 killing of Iran's top military commander, Gen Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike, Iran pulled back from its commitments to the nuclear accord.
Since the terrorist attack on the United States by an Islamic extremist group in 2001, national security against terrorism and Islamic militant groups has been a primary focus of American domestic security. A Pew Research survey conducted in 2015 found 93% of Republicans view ISIS as a major threat, compared with 79% of Democrats. This is mirrored in the bipartisan support for President Obama’s plan for a military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, with a majority of Republicans (64%) and Democrats (60%) approving of the president’s plan.
Isolationism is a government policy or doctrine of taking no role in the affairs of other nations. A plurality of Republicans (46%) want greater isolationism compared to a near plurality of Democrats (32%).
A survey by Pew Research in November 2018 found that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to prioritize promoting democracy in other nations (22% vs 11%), promoting and defending human rights abroad (39% vs 20%), and helping improve living standards in developing nations (32% vs 12%).
The House in October 2019, passed a resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria by a vote of 354–60. A survey from the Pew Research Center in March 2022 found 73% Republicans saying that working closely with allies to respond to the Russian invasion is the right approach compared with 85% of Democrats. 85% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats favor maintaining strict economic sanctions on Russia. 75% of Republicans and 81% of Democrats favor keeping large numbers of U.S. military forces in NATO countries near Ukraine in response to the conflict.
The Israel-Palestine Conflict is one with political, economic, and religious roots. While both Palestine and Israel claim the same area of land by way of religious legitimacy, Israel is the country that currently holds power in the region. While it is heavily influenced by the religious affiliations of the two groups, the impact of outside nations and their political parties, like the United States with Democrats and Republicans, must be examined. Republicans and those who lean more conservative express greater levels of attachment to Israel than do Jewish Democrats and those who lean Democratic. More specifically, 77% of Republicans support Israel over Palestine, while 40% of Democrats support Israel. So, both Democrats and Republicans support Israel, however, a larger percentage of Republicans support Israel than do the Democrats. This stance with Israel by the Republican party is even seen on the Senate floor by Mitch McConnell, who said that: “[He]has been proud to stand with Israel for years, and [he]is proud to stand with Israel today.
Additionally, Brookings.edu polls show that 50% of Republicans affirm the state of Israel and oppose the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement while only 20% of Democrats are against it.
A majority in both parties view Israel favorably. One Gallup poll reports that 83% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats, along with 72% of independents hold positive views about Israel.
The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours, and safer working conditions. Labour Unions are simply “an organized association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.” The point of contention between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to labor unions is whether or not they have a positive or negative effect on the American economy. Around three-quarters of Democrats (74%) say labor unions have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, whereas Republicans and GOP leaners who say unions have a positive effect have fallen to 34%. This same sentiment is mirrored in the legislative branch, where House Bill 842, which was proposed to expand various labor protections related to employees' rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace by way of labor unions, passed with 220 Yea votes from the Democrats and 206 Nay votes from the Republicans.
Support for same-sex marriage is higher among Democratic-identifying voters than Republican-identifying voters; 75% of Democrats support same-sex marriage, while only 37% of Republicans do. The Republican platform reiterates the party’s belief that marriage should be “between one man and one woman,” while the Democratic platform emphasizes its support for LGBTQ rights.
In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the 14th Amendment requires all states to license marriages between same-sex couples and to recognize all lawful marriages that were conducted out of state. In December 2022, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, enshrining federal protections for same-sex and interracial couples. The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the House with a 258-169-1 vote with 39 Republicans joining Democrats in supporting it. It passed in the Senate 61 to 36 with 12 Republicans crossing party lines to vote for the legislation. A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted in December 2022, found 43% of Republicans support same-sex marriage compared with 87% of Democrats.
Mandatory prison sentences, or mandatory minimums, require people convicted of certain crimes, often drug related, to serve a set amount of time in prison for their offense from different political party stances. Historically, most major mandatory sentencing regulations have been introduced by Republican lawmakers. Furthermore, the 2016 Republican Party Platform briefly expressed support for mandatory minimums, praising them as an important and effective tool for ensuring public safety. Recent public polling, however, indicates that Americans are broadly opposed to mandatory prison sentences, regardless of their party affiliation. While Democrats are still more inclined than their Republican counterparts to oppose mandatory sentencing (83% oppose), a steady majority of Republican voters (66%) would support eliminating mandatory minimums.
Marijuana legalization is becoming increasingly popular among both Democrats and Republicans. While the Republican platform is critical of marijuana legalization for recreational use, polling indicates that 45% of Republicans still favor legalization with 73% of Democrats supporting it.
Marijuana legalization for Medicinal Use is supported by the majority of both Republicans and Democrats with 94% of Democrats in favor and 84% of Republicans doing the same.
Military spending seems to be higher of a budget priority for Republicans than for Democrats. The Republican Party platform makes multiple calls to strengthen the military, presumably requiring increased funding. It also condemns cuts to the defense budget. Comparatively, the Democratic platform points to waste within the defense budget, which can be interpreted as a call to reduce defense spending to some extent. Polling shows that 56% of Republicans would increase defense spending, compared to just 26% of Democrats.
Nationalism, made distinct from patriotism by its propensity to advance one nation to the detriment of others, is an ideology that appears to resonate more with Republicans than Democrats. Nationalist sentiments appear to be reflected in polling. One poll indicates that 57% of Republican voters are concerned that immigration poses a threat to the national identity of America. This compares to the 86% of Democratic voters that perceive immigration to be essential to the collective American identity. Polling also reflects a widespread association between the Trump Republican administration and nationalist sentiments; 56% of voters report that they believe President Trump did enough to distance himself from white nationalist groups. 83% of Democratic voters interpreted the president’s nationalist associations to be problematic, compared to just 26% of Republican voters.
Republicans tend to be more supportive of the oil drilling industry than Democrats are. The Democratic Party platform outlines a goal to reduce reliance on oil by instead encouraging the production and use of cleaner, renewable energy sources. In comparison, the Republican platform declares support for all sources of marketable energy, and explicitly cites oil as such a source. Polling concludes that Republican voters have far more favorable views of oil fracking than Democratic voters do, by a wide margin of 62% to 29%, respectively.
Nuclear warfare has long remained a nightmare for those all around the world, and with North Korea’s advancement into the Nuclear age, the threat of nuclear annihilation grows ever closer. While oftentimes there are party disagreements as to whether something is a threat or not, the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons is seen as a major threat by 79% of Democrats and 87% of Republicans. This fear of North Korea and its nuclear arsenal was felt by Congress as well, as shown by their passing of H.R. 757 which placed numerous sanctions on North Korea as well as penalties if any nation were to trade with them. This bill passed the Senate and the House almost unanimously, thus showing the American fear of North Korea and its nuclear arsenal.
Support for Planned Parenthood, an organization centered on providing reproductive care including contraception and abortion services, is relatively partisan. Polling indicates that 89% of Democrats view Planned Parenthood positively, compared to only 36% of Republicans. Further polling shows that 63% of Republicans would support defunding Planned Parenthood, while only a marginal 7% of Democrats would. Planned Parenthood is mentioned in both the Democratic and Republican 2016 party platforms; the Democratic Party commits to protect federal funding of Planned Parenthood, while the Republican Party expresses the desire to cut its funding.
A survey on police funding in 2021 by the Pew Research Center found 61% of Republicans and independents leaning in favor of increasing spending on police compared to 34% of Democrats and independents.
Prison reform has long been a debated issue at all levels of American politics. The debate on prison reform is more centered along the lines of the length of punishment that is received by inmates. On this account, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more likely to say people convicted of crimes spend too much time in prison (41% and 21% respectfully) while the reverse is true among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents: 44% of Republicans say people convicted of crimes spend too little time in prison, while 14% say they spend too much time behind bars. Democratic and Republican politicians, like their followers, subscribe to these same beliefs as evidenced by voting patterns on S. 756: FIRST Step Act. This act was a prison reform bill that was voted upon by the United States Senate, with the vote being tallied as follows: 100% of Democrats voted Yea along with 31.5% of Republicans.
Both Democrats and Republicans appear to be in support of private enterprise. Both the Democratic and Republican platforms expressed some criticism of nationalized enterprise, particularly in the context of trade. While it can be noted that the Republican platform mentioned support for private enterprise more frequently than the Democratic platform, there is no polling to suggest that Democratic voters would support nationalizing enterprise.
Both parties support private healthcare. While the Democratic Party does call for a unilateral expansion of public healthcare services, its platform does not call for the abolition of private insurance, however it isn't even mentioned which shows that it is not well-supported as they are proposing to replace most of it with universal healthcare. Although several Democratic presidential candidates have expressed interest in the eventual dissolution of private health insurance, this has not become the official stance of the party. Polling suggests widespread support for maintaining private healthcare options among both Democratic and Republican voters; 88% of Democrats would prefer a public-option healthcare plan, which would allow private insurance programs to exist alongside a public system. Meanwhile, most Republicans are opposed to expanding public healthcare coverage at all.
Both the Democratic and Republican platforms advocate for the protection of individual property rights. Polling indicates that 76% of Americans would be more likely to vote for a candidate that would fight for private property protections; the poll found no significant variation between demographic or political groups.
Polling suggests that Democrats are more opposed to protectionist trade measures than Republicans are; 63% of Republicans view free trade agreements negatively, compared to 67% of Democrats that view them positively. While the 2016 Democratic Party platform expressed that free trade is a good thing, the Republican platform appeared more cautious about free trade agreements.
Democrats and Republicans appear to have very differing perspectives on public education spending. On one hand, the Democratic Party platform outlines a commitment to increasing federal investment in public education. In comparison, the Republican Party platform is critical of current education spending, citing that the “overall results” of the education system do not justify the vast amount of funds being allocated to it. These partisan preferences are also reflected in polling; 73% of Democratic voters would like to see federal spending on education increase, compared to only 43% of Republicans.
Qualified Immunity is a type of legal immunity that “protects a government official from lawsuits alleging that the official violated a plaintiff’s rights, only allowing suits where officials violated a clearly established statutory or constitutional right.” With the recent case of Derek Chauvin, the topic of qualified immunity has become quite a hot topic. Whether or not officers of the law, and those who work for any sort of government position, deserve immunity to some things is a difficult question. A survey conducted in 2021 by the Pew Research Center found 84% of Democrats strongly believe that civilians need to hold the power to sue police officers and other federal employees in case of abuse of power, while 53% of Republicans believe that Police Officers require some sort of safeguard in order to protect them against lawsuits accusing them of excessive force/conduct. In totality, including both Democrats and Republicans, a majority of people (66%) believe it paramount that Police Officers and other law enforcement officials are not immune from suit. In short, qualified immunity is favored slightly by Republicans (53%), and Democrats strongly oppose it (84%).
Polling suggests that Democrats are more sympathetic towards rape abortionthan Republicans are; in cases of rape or incest, 77% of Democratic voters support allowing abortion at any stage in the pregnancy, while only 46% of Republicans do.
Both the Democratic and Republican party platforms highlight religious freedom as an important right. Polling indicates that religious freedom is very important to both parties but slightly more favorable for Republicans than Democrats.
However, when it comes to private business decisions, 73% of Republicans versus 45% of Democrats believe that businesses should be able to rely on their religious beliefs to refuse service to others. When it comes to practicing one's faith, 73% of Republicans versus 61% of Democrats believe that people should respect their religious values even if the religion excludes others. Notwithstanding this, in Democrat-run states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and the District of Columbia, religious adoption agencies are basically shut down unless the institutions recognize same-sex marriage. Additionally, the new Respect for Marriage Act, according to Mike Lee is still lacking adequate protections for religious institutions in which their non-profit status could be threatened at some point later on.
Since the era of the Cold War, the fear of the Russian Government and its potential to invade America has long plagued the American psyche. However, unlike in the Cold War era, Americans are reluctant to refer to Russia as an enemy, rather they are more likely to consider them as competition. Half of Republicans regard Russia as a competitor to the U.S., while 39% say it is an enemy. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 49% view Russia as a competitor, while 43% see it as an enemy. As of recently, in great part due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these numbers are likely to be inflated. Nonetheless, the Senate and House of Representatives unanimously voted on Bill H.R. 6969, a bill that aimed to cease the importation of Russian Oil. This voting record observed alongside the inflated statistics regarding Russians as enemies (due to the invasion of Ukraine) can only lead to the conclusion that most Americans see Russia as an enemy of the United States, and thus, a threat to America as a nation.
Sanctuary cities, cities that “[limit] cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents in order to protect low-priority immigrants from deportation,” are typically defended by Democrats and criticized by Republicans. While the Democratic platform does not explicitly mention sanctuary cities, Democratic Congresspeople have frequently taken steps to protect sanctuary cities from being defunded. In comparison, the Republican platform explicitly calls for sanctuary cities to be defunded, on the basis that they technically violate federal law.
A Reuters poll from Sept. 23, 2022, found that 53% of Republicans supported the transport of migrants by Republican governors out of their states to Democrat-run sanctuary cities compared with 16% of Democrats.
Approximately, 80% of Democrats support finding ways for undocumented immigrants to stay in America legally, while only 37% of Republicans are for.
School choice has been a defining issue for the Department of Education under the Trump Administration. Both President Trump and his appointed Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, have identified school voucher programs and other school choice initiatives as a priority. The administration has been criticized by a number of prominent Democrats, who have argued that school vouchers funnel money away from public education. Polling, however, indicates voters are much less divided on this issue; 61% of Republicans are supportive of voucher programs, as are 52% of Democrats.
The parties are split over how much the US government should spend on scientific research. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found 62% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support increased spending for scientific research compared with 40% of Republicans and Republican leaners. In Congress, Republicans tend to favor greater defense spending compared to non-defense funding. Republican leadership in the House opposed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 authorizing $280 billion for science and technology programs. It was passed in the House by a vote of 243 to 187.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, 43 governors ordered residents to stay at home and nonessential services to close. All 24 Democratic governors issued stay-at-home orders compared with 19 of the 26 Republican governors. Majorities of Republicans (61%), independents (84%), and Democrats (94%) supported the shelter-in-place orders.
While Republicans are typically opposed to reparations, Democrats are gradually becoming more supportive of the notion. A Gallup poll reports that while only 8% of Republican voters believe that descendants of African slaves ought to be eligible for reparations, 48% of Democrats favor and 49% disfavor it. Neither of the party platforms address proposals for reparations, although Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to explore the possibility of reparations for slavery.
The Democratic platform expresses support for systems of socialized healthcare such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the Republican platform acknowledges the importance of socialized healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, but expresses a desire to limit access to these programs to just the elderly and absolute impoverished. The Republican platform also condemns many aspects of the Affordable Care Act, implying a limit to the extent of socialized healthcare that the party will tolerate. On the Affordable Care Act specifically, public support is pretty consistently split along party lines; 64% of Republican voters reported that they regarded the ACA negatively, while 67% of Democratic voters reported the opposite.
Both the Democratic, and the Republican platforms acknowledge the severity of the student debt. In August of 2022, President Biden signed an executive order to forgive student debt. A poll conducted in September 2022 by Economist/YouGov found that 80% of Democrats supported President Biden’s college debt cancellation while 72% of Republicans opposed it.
Additionally, when asked specifically about Elizabeth Warren’s student debt cancellation plan, 70% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans reported that they would support canceling up to $50,000 of debt for those whose household incomes total less than $100,000. Furthermore, her proposal to partially cancel the debt of those with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 has earned support from 52% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans.
The topic of racial discrimination, particularly among those of African descent, is, unfortunately, a common thread throughout the historical tapestry of American society. From the establishment of the United States of America in 1776, both black men and women alike have faced prejudice based on the color of their skin. This has caused something referred to as institutional racism/systemic racism, which is a form of racism that is embedded in the laws and regulations of a society or an organization. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are in favor of systemic racism. However the issue at hand is whether equality has been reached or not. About seven-in-ten Republicans (71%) say the U.S. has made a lot of progress over the last 50 years in ensuring equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, while just 29% of Democrats say this. A 61% majority of Democrats say a little progress has been made to ensure equality among Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. So, while systemic racism has continued to be eradicated due to the strides taken by both Republicans and Democrats, the debate as to whether more can be done to obtain equality is still being debated by Democrats and Republicans. A Hidden Common Ground survey by Public Agenda and USA TODAY in July 2021 showed a stark partisan divide over whether addressing racism requires systemic change. A majority of Democrats (88%) agreed that overcoming racism requires fundamental changes to laws and institutions compared with 46% of Republicans who felt the same.
Republicans and Democrats are typically divided on the issue of taxation. While the Democratic Party platform advocates for raising taxes for wealthy Americans and corporations, the Republican platform denounces high tax rates and even goes as far as to advocate for the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which instituted the federal income tax. Polling reflects similar sentiments among voters. When polled about the Trump Administration’s 2017 tax code, which implemented broad tax cuts, 71% of Republicans reported that they were satisfied with the new tax system, compared to 79% of Democrats that disapprove.
Neither the Republican nor the Democratic party platform addresses the issue of teacher pay specifically. However, the Republican platform advocates specifically for merit pay for “good” teachers, while the Democratic platform advocates for more funding to be allocated to supporting both teachers and students. Polling suggests that proposals to raise the salaries of public school teachers are slightly more popular among Democrats; almost 60% of Democrats would support increasing pay, compared to a little under 40% of Republicans.
The travel ban, a policy which limits immigration to the United States from several ‘high-risk’ countries, was proposed and implemented by the Republican Trump Administration. The Democratic platform condemned the ban on multiple occasions, criticizing it mainly for its concentration on majority-Muslim nations. Polling indicates that while 81% of Republican voters approved of the travel ban, only 9% of Democratic voters do.
Impeachment refers to the process by which a legislature's lower house brings charges against a civil federal officer, the vice president, or the president for misconduct alleged to have been committed. President Trump was impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On this issue, the views of the Democrats and Republicans are extremely polarized with 89% of Democrats hoping that Trump would be found guilty and therefore impeached, whereas 88% of Republican respondents hoped that President Trump would not be impeached. This polarization carried into the legislative branch, where representatives of each party echoed the statements of those in the electorate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Trump's impeachment, saying that “The process of healing requires accountability. Because without accountability, this will happen again.” On the other hand is Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who voted for Trump’s acquittal, saying that “The charge against former President Trump for inciting violence was contrary to the evidence. And using the standard of incitement the House Managers proposed, many politicians could find themselves on the wrong side of impeachments in the future.”
Democrats tend to regard the United Nations more favorably than Republicans do. While the Democratic Party platform recognizes the United Nations for its important role in international relations, the Republican platform recognizes it only for its potential. The Republican platform additionally calls for the continued funding of the institution to be contingent upon several structural changes, indicating dissatisfaction within the party regarding the institution in the status quo. Polling supports these sentiments; 77% of Democrats view the United Nations favorably, compared to just 36% of Republicans.
Universal background check legislation would require any individual seeking to purchase a firearm to first undergo a comprehensive background check. Among voting demographics, support for universal background checks is quite high, with 84% of Republican voters and 96% of Democratic voters expressing support for expanded background check requirements. However, while the Democratic Party explicitly includes support for expanded background checks in its platform, the Republican Party is yet to include universal background checks in its platform. Rather, its references to gun policy are generally in opposition to any policies that could limit access to gun ownership.
Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act to demonstrate the party’s commitment to the issue. In comparison, the Republican platform promotes “vigorous competition” in the healthcare industry rather than supporting a universalized approach. Polling reflects similar sentiments among voters; 85% of Democrats believe that it ought to be the government’s responsibility to provide healthcare for all, while 68% of Republicans disagree. One particular form of universal healthcare, Medicare-for-All, has been gaining traction among progressive Democrats, while simultaneously becoming a topic of critique for conservative Republicans. While neither party platform makes any explicit statement on the policy, the Democratic platform expresses openness to implementing a public option for healthcare, which some have proposed ought to be a stepping stone to passing universal coverage through Medicare-for-All. Meanwhile, the Republican platform expresses general opposition to any universal public healthcare plans. Polling reflects these divisions, with 86% of Democrats supporting Medicare-for-All, compared to just 28% of Republicans.
To preface, a voter identification law is a law that requires a person to show some form of identification in order to vote. The main point of contention, as it pertains to Voter Identification Laws, is that minorities are being affected disproportionately due to their lack of identification. Despite this contention, a majority of adults strongly favor requiring all voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote (76%). Republicans are considerably more likely than Democrats to favor photo identification requirements for voting (81% in favor compared with 30% of Democrats), even as majorities in both partisan groups favor this policy. Polling shows that the majority of Americans support some type of photo identification requirement with just 18% of Americans opposing it.
Voting enfranchisement has long been a topic of concern amongst Americans, especially African Americans. Moreso with respect to voting itself, Democrats view voting as a fundamental right vested in each naturalized citizen, whereas Republicans view voting as a privilege that can be limited depending on an individual’s actions. More specifically, 78% of Democrats believe that voting is a fundamental right that should not be restricted in any way, while fewer than a quarter (21%) say it is a privilege. On the contrary, two-thirds of Republicans say voting is a privilege that can be limited if limited requirements are not met, compared with about half as many (32%) who say it is a fundamental right. While Democrats and Republicans disagree as to whether voting is a right or a privilege, both parties agree that voting rights are good.
While the War on Drugs was originally championed by Republican presidents, namely Reagan, Nixon, and H.W. Bush, voters of both parties have recently shifted to be less supportive of harsh drug legislation. 77% of Democratic and 51% of Republican voters believe that the justice system should focus on the rehabilitation of drug users, rather than prosecution. Support for the War on Drugs among party leadership, however, remains split; the Democratic party platform commits to reversing the War on Drugs, while the Republican platform alludes to support for it with its reference to the “progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse”.
The War on Terror, an initiative that was originally launched by the Republican G.W. Bush Administration, appears to be somewhat more popular among Republicans than Democrats. Polling indicates that 65% of Republican voters support their party’s approach to the War on Terror. Meanwhile, passing policy that would reverse the trajectory of the War on Terror seems to be a priority for 2020 Democratic candidates.
Partisan differences are evidenced in federal spending priorities. In an April 2017 survey by Pew Research Center, 61% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents supported increasing federal spending on anti-terrorism defenses in the U.S. compared with 33% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.
Democrats tend to be supportive of welfare programs, while Republicans are less supportive. The Democratic Party platform expresses support for welfare programs such as Social Security and condemns Republican proposals to cut funding for welfare programs such as SNAP and Medicaid. Meanwhile, the Republican platform articulate opposition to the expansion of welfare programs and expresses concern that they create a culture of dependency. Polling indicates that Republicans are more willing to cut funding for welfare programs than Democrats are; 55% of Republicans would cut welfare spending in order to reduce budgetary deficits. Meanwhile, 84% of Democrats would prioritize maintaining welfare spending over deficit reduction.
In April of 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump accused the World Health Organization of mishandling COVID-19 and halted U.S. funding to the WHO. In May of 2020, he announced that the US would terminate its relationship with the WHO and redirect the funds. Polling found 62% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying the organization has done at least a good job in handling the pandemic compared with 28% of Republicans and GOP leaners. 86% of liberal Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents trust information from the WHO at least a fair amount, compared with 27% of conservative Republicans and GOP leaners.