The 2004 Republican Delegates

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This year, Americans see sharper differences between the two political parties than ever before, and perhaps with good reason: as the Republican party prepares to hold its quadrennial convention, on many issues its delegates are indeed dramatically different from the Democrats who gathered in Boston last month. Here are the results of a CBS News/New York Times poll taken from August 3, to the 22th:

The Republican delegates are in agreement with GOP voters nationwide on a range of issues, including strong support for the Iraq war, the belief that government should promote traditional values, support for tax cuts, and wanting religion to be part of the 2004 campaign. Both groups are enthusiastic about George W. Bush, delegates especially so.

IDEOLOGY

Last month, a majority of Democratic delegates claimed to be moderates, not liberals (although they took decidedly liberal positions on many issues). Republican delegates, on the other hand, embrace the conservative label – as do a majority of their voters. 63% of delegates call themselves conservatives, unchanged from 2000, when the party first tabbed George W. Bush to be its nominee. So do 57% of Republican voters nationwide.

POLITICAL IDEOLOGY

On some traditional measures of ideology, GOP delegates are even more conservative than Republican voters. 85% of delegates say the Federal Government is generally too involved in issues that are better left, they believe, to individuals. A similar number of 2000 delegates also said the government was too involved.

Most GOP voters agree, but to a lesser extent. There is somewhat more accord between GOP delegates and voters on this general philosophy than there was between Democratic delegates and their voters: Democratic delegates were strongly in favor of more government action while Democratic voters, asked about this question in July, were mixed.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

Republican voters are slightly more likely than Republican delegates to want the government to take an active role in promoting traditional values: 55% of delegates and 61% of voters say so. About one-third of the delegates headed to New York and Republican voters nationwide each say the government should not favor any one set of values. On this point, Democrats and Democratic delegates were in agreement with each other, but in the opposite direction: over seven in ten of each said government should not play a role in promoting any one set of values.

GOVERNMENT'S ROLE IN VALUES

Republican delegates are almost unanimously behind the U.S. military action in Iraq. Eight in ten Republican voters feel the same way. Democratic delegates in Boston overwhelmingly thought the U.S. ought to have stayed out of Iraq, and most Democratic voters agree.

MILITARY ACTION IN IRAQ

Republican delegates and Republican voters agree that most of the Bush tax cuts passed since 2001 should be kept in place, although most delegates would keep all of them. 61% of delegates want all of those cuts locked in as permanent. 30% of Republican voters concur, though 38% favor making most – but not all – of the cuts permanent, and one in five would repeal them at least some of them.

Democratic delegates and voters want most cuts repealed, marking a sharp difference with their Republican counterparts. Democratic delegates (though not their voters) are almost unanimous on this question.

BUSH'S TAX CUTS

Republican delegates and voters agree that the environment should not be protected at the expense of jobs. Democratic voters and delegates felt the opposite way.

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT EVEN IF IT COSTS JOBS?

Religion is important in the lives of most delegates and voters of both parties, but Republicans are twice as likely to say religion is "extremely" important: almost four in ten GOP delegates and voters say that, compared with two in ten Democrats. And most Republican delegates and voters are untroubled by bringing religion into political discourse. 81% of delegates think it is appropriate for politicians to talk about their religious beliefs during the campaign, as do 68% of Republican voters.

SHOULD CANDIDATES DISCUSS THEIR RELIGIOUS VIEWS?

Democratic delegates and voters are opposite. About two thirds of each group of Democrats think religion should not be part of a presidential campaign.

ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT FOR BUSH THE CONSERVATIVE

Even more Republican delegates describe George W. Bush as conservative than say they are. 74% say the President is a conservative, and 21% think he is a moderate. 58% of GOP voters nationwide view the President as conservative.

GEORGE W. BUSH IS

Whatever their description of the President, Republican delegates are almost unanimous in their enthusiasm about him. Republican voters who back Bush are enthusiastic about the President, too, but not to the same extent. Just over one-fourth have reservations about him.

REPUBLICANS: FEELINGS TOWARD GEORGE W. BUSH AS A CANDIDATE

However, Republican delegates and voters are each more enthusiastic about Bush than their Democratic counterparts are about John Kerry. While the Democratic delegates in Boston were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about Kerry, many Democrats around the country backing Kerry are less so enthusiastic about him.

DEMOCRATS: FEELINGS TOWARD JOHN KERRY AS A CANDIDATE

Vice President Dick Cheney, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for Vice President, enjoys overwhelming popularity among the Republican delegates. 94% of the delegates view the Vice President favorably, and just 2% are unfavorable. Nationally, six in ten Republican voters have positive opinions about Cheney, but one-third have yet to form an opinion.

VIEWS OF DICK CHENEY

When asked whether Cheney should be replaced as the Vice Presidential nominee, just 7% of delegates thought he should.

STEM CELL RESEARCH, ABORTION AND THE DEATH PENALTY

There are few areas in which some Republican delegates (and voters) part ways with the President -- stem cell research may be one of them. President Bush has restricted government funding to research conducted only on existing stem cell lines.

Republican delegates do not hold a cohesive position on the issue; about four in ten support such research, and half oppose it. Republican voters are similarly divided.

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

Among those delegates who approve of stem cell research, half think federal funding should be extended to a larger number of stem cell lines, effectively disagreeing with the President's restrictions. Republican voters have similar views.

Seven in ten delegates oppose abortion altogether or would permit it only to save the life of the mother or in cases of incest or rape. Most Republican voters agree. Democratic delegates are much more likely to take an opposing view, as do a majority of Democratic voters.

ABORTION

Republican delegates (and even more Republican voters) support the death penalty over life in prison with no parole for people convicted of murder by a wide margin. These views have changed little since 2000.

DEATH PENALTY OR LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERERS?

Democratic delegates and voters express greater support for life in prison than the death penalty.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

While very few Republican delegates think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, many think same-sex relationships should be recognized legally. 3% of delegates think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, and another 41% support civil unions for same-sex couples. 49% of delegates, however, think there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

More Republican voters, 11%, support same-sex marriage. 36% support same-sex civil unions, and 52% do not think same-sex relationships should be legally recognized.

SAME-SEX COUPLES SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO:

Democrats have opposing views on the issue of same-sex marriage. 44% of Democratic delegates supported same sex marriage, and another 43% supported civil unions for same sex couples. Only one in twenty would provide no legal option for same sex couples. Democratic voters, asked in July, are more mixed on this issue.

RELIGION AND SOCIAL ISSUES

Most delegates to the Republican convention are extremely or very religious, Protestant, and hold conservative positions on abortion and stem cell research. In this area the delegates come close to mirroring the Republican voters they represent.

Nearly four in 10 Republican delegates say that religion is extremely important to them, as do 34% of Republican voters, and only 21% of Democratic delegates.

IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION

65% of Republican delegates are Protestant, and another one in four are Catholic. Democrats -- both delegates and voters -- were more diverse in their religious preferences when asked in July.

THE MOST RELIGIOUS DELEGATES

The two out of five delegates who say that religion is extremely important to them hold stronger positions on most social issues than do less-religious delegates:

  • 58% disapprove of embryonic stem cell research, and of those who do approve, more think the existing lines that have been approved for federal funding are adequate.

  • Nearly half think abortion should not be permitted at all or allowed only to save the life of the woman.

  • 69% think same sex couples should receive no legal recognition of their relationships.


  • In addition, these delegates are more accepting of some overlap between religion, values and government. 90% would like to see the candidates for president discuss the role of religion in their lives during the campaign, and 68% think that government should play an activist role in promoting traditional values.

    ECONOMIC POLICY

    Republican delegates support free trade, and few call for more government regulation of business. Current views resemble those of Republican delegates in 2000, and reflect traditional Republican positions on these business issues.

    53% of delegates support free trade, even if it hurts domestic industries. 32% think trade restrictions are needed to protect domestic business. Their voters are even more supportive of free trade: nearly three in four Republican voters nationally reject trade restrictions.

    TRADE RESTRICTIONS OR FREE TRADE?

    Democrats – both delegates and voters -- are much more supportive of trade restrictions.

    Overall, few delegates want more government regulation of business -- a view that has changed little among this group over the years. 50% think government is now doing enough to regulate the environmental and safety practices of business, 26% would like it do even less, and 15% thin kit ought to do more in this area. As might be expected, majorities of Democratic delegates and voters would like to see the government undertake more business regulation.

    IMMIGRATION

    A slight majority of Republican delegates, 52%, think legal immigration into the United States should be kept at its present level. A similar number of Democratic delegates said so in July. But Republican delegates are more likely than their Democratic counterparts to want decreased immigration: by a two-to-one margin, Republican delegates say immigration level should be decreased, while the Democratic delegates said immigration should be increased by 23% to 14%.

    LEGAL IMMIGRATION SHOULD BE…

    Delegates of both parties are out of touch with their own voters. Nationally, voters of both parties want to see decreased legal immigration, with 53% of Republican voters and 48% of Democratic voters saying so.

    FOREIGN POLICY BEYOND IRAQ

    Two-thirds of Republican delegates support Bush's approach of preemptive attack, as do 51% of Republican voters nationwide. Roughly seven in ten Democrats – delegates and voters -- are against the idea of preemptive attack.

    SHOULD U.S. BE ABLE TO LAUNCH A PREEMPTIVE ATTACK?

    The two parties differ significantly on another foreign policy area -- working with the United Nations. While Republican voters generally think it is important for the U.S. to work through the U.N. to solve international problems, the Republican delegates are more divided. 51% think it is at least somewhat important to work through the U.N. (although just 7% think it is extremely important), but 46% of Republican delegates do not think it is important for the U.S. to take a multilateral approach in solving international problems.

    IMPORTANT FOR U.S. TO WORK THROUGH U.N. TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

    In contrast, eight in ten Democratic delegates believed it is extremely important for the U.S. to work through the U.N.; no Democratic delegate thought working through the U.N. is unimportant. Views among Democratic voters nationwide are similar.

    POSITIVE VIEWS OF MODERATE SPEAKERS

    Republican delegates (and their voters) are quite enthusiastic about some convention speakers who do not necessarily share the typical party positions on certain issues, and their own conservative ideology.

    Nine out of ten Republican delegates view former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, scheduled to address the convention on opening night, favorably; just 2% views him unfavorably. Nationally, two-thirds of Republican voters have favorable views of Giuliani, but one-third is undecided.

    VIEWS OF RUDOLPH GIULIANI

    Six in ten Republican delegates view Arizona Senator John McCain, another opening night speaker, favorably. 16% of the delegates view him unfavorably. McCain is one of few political figures about whom both Republican and Democratic delegates agree. In July, 56% of delegates to the Democratic convention viewed the Arizona Senator favorably; 17% were unfavorable. Voters with opinions in both parties also like McCain.

    VIEWS OF JOHN MCCAIN

    While both conservative and moderate Republicans hold positive views of McCain, moderates are much more likely to do so. 56% of conservatives and 74% of moderate delegates sees McCain favorably.

    California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is also viewed positively by three quarters of the convention delegates. Republican voters nationwide view the California Governor favorably by 47% to 9%, though 43% of Republican voters are undecided or haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion.

    VIEWS OF ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

    Conservative delegates also hold a favorable opinion of Schwarzenegger, despite the Governor's more moderate views on many social issues.

    Two other prominent Republicans have lower profiles among both delegates and voters. Just over half of Republican delegates view House Majority Whip Tom DeLay favorably; 8% have unfavorable views of him, while 36% of the delegates haven't heard enough about Tom DeLay to form an opinion. Moderate delegates also hold a positive view of him, but are more likely to be undecided on Delay or haven't heard enough about him yet. Nationwide, just one in ten Republican voters have favorable views of the House Majority Whip, and eight in ten Republican voters are either undecided or haven't heard enough about him.

    Six in ten Republican delegates view Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie favorably, while four in ten say they haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion. Hardly anyone has an unfavorable view of Chairman Gillespie.

    VIEWS OF OTHER REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADERS

    Republicans and Democrats, who agree about John McCain, also agree about Ralph Nader. Delegates to both parties' conventions have a negative view of the independent candidate. While many voters have any opinion at all about Nader, the Republicans and Democrats who do are also negative.

    ARE CONVENTIONS STILL NEEDED?

    Nearly all delegates to both parties' conventions say political conventions are still needed so the public can see who the members of the parties are and what they stand for. Voters nationally, especially Republican voters, are not as convinced. While 50% of Republican voters think political conventions are still needed, 44% say they are outdated and no longer necessary.

    NEW YORK CITY

    This will not be the first trip to New York City for many of these Republican delegates. And nearly all of them will be happy to come. 84% say they have been to New York before, and nearly all the delegates - 94% - have a positive image of New York. Nationally, 78% of Republican voters also have a good impression of the city of New York.

    IMAGE OF NEW YORK CITY

    More than eight in 10 delegates think it was a good idea for the Republicans to hold their convention in New York City this year.
    Only 9% of GOP delegates think it was a bad idea. Those who think it was a bad idea for New York to host the convention are more likely than those who think it was a good one to be worried about a terror attack during the convention.

    HOLDING THE GOP CONVENTION IN NEW YORK CITY A GOOD IDEA?

    New Yorkers, however, think the convention should have been held somewhere else. 41% of New Yorkers say it was a good idea for the Republicans to hold their convention in New York City, but 52% say they should have gone someplace else.

    While in New York, delegates plan to do some sight-seeing. The Statue of Liberty, which recently re-opened after having been closed since September 11, tops the list as the place delegates want to visit most with 21%. 16% say the want to visit ground zero - the site of the terror attacks on the Twin Towers. Another 7% say they would like to take in a Broadway show.

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE WHILE VISITING NEW YORK?

    As for one of the oldest rivalries in Major League Baseball, these Republican delegates say they would root for the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox. The Democratic delegates, who held their convention in Boston last month, would back the Red Sox over the Yankees.

    CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

    One view that Republican and Democratic delegates share: they both believe that recent campaign finance changes (commonly known as the "McCain-Feingold" reforms) are making it harder for their candidates to compete. 44% of Republican delegates think the new law changes are making things harder for Republican candidates, 38% say they have had no effect and almost none of them think they've made life easier. Democratic delegates last month shared similar views about the impact of the laws on their own party.

    THE MCCAIN-FEINGOLD CAMPAIGN REFORMS

    This poll was conducted in early and mid-August, before the height of the recent controversy over ads by "Swift Vote Veterans for Truth." 48% of the Republican delegates said they have not heard much about "527's" in general. Those who have are roughly divided over whether the activities of those groups are helping or hurting the GOP's candidates: 19% say 527's have made no difference in the campaign; 13% say they are hurting GOP candidates and 11% say they are helping.

    THE 2004 REPUBLICAN DELEGATE SURVEY METHODOLOGY

    For the last few weeks, CBS News and The New York Times have been interviewing a random sample of delegates to the 2004 Republican National Convention – by phone, fax, mail and email. This report summarizes the results of 1,200 interviews.

    Much of the delegate contact information came from individual state parties. Some states' parties were more cooperative than others. We did not interview delegates representing American Samoa and Guam. The final data set is representative of all delegates to the convention, with the appropriate demographic and political distributions.
    The error due to sampling could be plus or minus 2 percentage points for the full sample of Republican delegates.

    WHO ARE THE REPUBLICAN DELEGATES?

    There are some key differences between delegates to this year's Republican Convention and those of previous years, according to interviews conducted by CBS News and the New York Times with a random sample of 1,200 Republican delegates.

    More than four in 10 GOP delegates are women -- up from 2000. The number of delegates who say they are evangelical or born-again is also higher than it was in 2000. And while one in five Republican delegates are veterans, this number is down from 2000. This year, more delegates are members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

    Notable demographic characteristics of the 2004 Republican delegates include:

    • 43% of Republican delegates are women –- up from 35% in 2000. 57% of this year's GOP delegates are men. Just 4% are under 30 yers old.

    • 85% of the 2004 GOP delegates are white, 6% are African-American, and 2% are Asian. 7% of these delegates are Hispanic. Those black and Hispanic percentages are the highest ever among Republican delegates, historically much less racially diverse than Democrats. But minorities make up a greater share of Republican delegates than of Republican partisans nationally: 92% of Republican identifiers are white, 1% is African-American, and even fewer are Asian. 6% of Republican voters are Hispanic.

    • For 55% of Republican delegates, 2004 will be their first convention.

    • 63% of Republican delegates say they are conservative, while a third are moderates. Just 1% describe themselves as liberal. Among Republican voters nationally, 57% are conservative, 36% are moderates, and 5% are liberal.

    • A majority of the Republican delegates and voters are Protestant. Two-thirds of the delegates are Protestant, compared to 54% of Republican voters nationally.

    • Moreover, 33% of the Republican delegates are evangelicals. This number is up from 2000 when 27% of the delegates to the Republican convention said they were evangelical or born-again. Just 13% of the delegates to the Democratic convention described themselves as evangelical.

    • 19% of the Republican delegates to the national convention are veterans. 14% of the Democratic delegates said they had served in the Armed Forces. But the proportion of veterans in the Republican delegation this year is down from the 27% of delegates who were veterans four years ago.

    • While the number of delegates who are gun owners (45%) is similar to what it was in 2000, the number of NRA members among the Republican delegation has risen from four years ago. 24% of the 2004 Republican delegates are members of the NRA, compared to 17% in 2000. Among Republican voters, just 12% say they are NRA members.

    • 3% of Republican delegates are currently members of a labor union – a proportion similar to past conventions. Nationally, 12% of Republican voters are union members.

    • Like the Democratic delegates last month, Republican delegates are both better educated and wealthier than their party's voters. 73% of GOP delegates have a college degree or higher, compared to just 33% of Republican Party voters.

    • 58% of the Republican delegates have incomes of $75,000 or above annually, compared to 33% of Republican voters nationally. 61% of Democratic delegates had income of $75,000 or higher.

    • 27% (more than in either 2000 or 1996) of the 2004 Republican delegates have a net worth of $1 million or higher. More Republican delegates are millionaires than there were at the Democratic convention last month -- 14% of Democratic delegates said they had a net worth of $1 million or higher.

    • 28% of the GOP delegates admit to having been Democrats at some point (only 14% of Democratic delegates said they had once been Republicans).
    • William Vitka

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