Republicans know they must change to improve their electoral viability, but most GOP voters think the party should embrace conservatism and not moderation, according to new findings from Pew Research Center released on Wednesday.The findings from Pew suggested that rank-and-file Republicans agree with the national party leaders who have led an autopsy following their humbling showing in last year’s election. A huge majority of Republican voters — 67 percent — said that the party needs to “address major problems” in order to fare better in future presidential elections. Fifty-nine percent said the party “needs to reconsider some positions” if it wants to do better in presidential races.
But when it comes to a prescription for the party’s electoral ills, a majority of GOP voters said their leaders should move further to the right, not the center. Fifty-four percent of Republicans told Pew that party leaders should move in a “more conservative direction,” while 40 percent said they should take a “moderate direction.”
With regard to the issues dominating Washington these days, more Republicans believe that the party’s positions are not conservative enough. By a roughly two-to-one margin, more Republicans said the party’s position on immigration is not conservative enough than those who said the position is too conservative. The margin ballooned to four-to-one when it came to the party’s position on government spending.
On gay marriage, slightly more Republicans (31 percent) said the party’s position is too conservative than the number who said it’s not conservative enough (27 percent). Gun policy was the only issue tested by Pew wherein a majority (58 percent) said the party’s position was about right.
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